At the last moment before I began to write for thirty minutes today, my computer got stuck in spinland and I had to reboot, which didn't seem as easy as it has in the past. Oh, the neighbor kids decided to start yelling and playing on my front porch. It's cold today and the front door kept opening and shutting. I had to feed my daughter. The cats were restless and left muddy footprints everywhere. The smoke alarm went off because the wick on the candle my daughter lit was too long. Eventually, my peace of mind was shattered and my piece of writing nearly in tatters.
I admit that very early today I wanted to give up, even though I challenged other people to join me and by finking out I would be a fake. My boss's secretary called with the news that my paycheck was delayed due to "an error." They were going to retract the automatic deposit and I would get my check in the mail in a few days. The error involved me being paid about $500 too much. I told her "That's not an error, that is an act of Divine Providence and you shouldn't interfere!" She never listens to me, and I'm a little stressed about my paycheck being late.
I perservered. I read all of the time about other writers and how "they made it" and it always goes something like: 1. Discipline, 2. Determination, 3. Perserverance.
A few months ago, I read a little essay, "What makes a fiction writer?" B.J. Chute says:
1. Imagination. 2. Empathy. 3. Style 4. Patience.
I need to have patience with myself. When I finished writing today, what I wrote seemed long and boring, even worse than Crime and Punishment. But I did feel really, really good, like I had jogged for thirty minutes and the extra oxygen and muscle movement had made a tired brain into a young vital brain, and out-of-shape muscles firm and full of blood.
I was having trouble starting a chapter cold, so I pulled out my notebook and found some ideas and dialogue I had written months ago and I went from there, even though my writing rules said "start something new." See, whenever I make hard and fast rules, without hesitation I immediately break or alter them. It's part of how I make sure that other people are not--absolutely not--telling me what to do and that includes myself.
Final result? Thirty-five minutes after I began, six-and-a-half pages are resting in MS Word labeled "Maddie's Choice."