It was intended to be funny to us writerly types who know what we're supposed to do but don't do it. The picture of the dog was captioned with advice for those who wish to finish a project, and it said simply, "Sit. Stay."
If a dog can do it, why can't I? *
When I read Amy Poehler's Yes Please a few weeks ago, I never expected that it would resonate with me in the ways that it did. I knew I would love it, because, Amy Poehler. But as a writer? "The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing," she writes. And it's so damned true I ought to get a tattoo. I stew about projects and that's important, but it's not enough. The hardest, hardest part about the best advice for writers is that it should be easy. But it isn't.
Write every day. Even just a little bit at a time eventually equals a book, but I've been flirting with 50K for far longer than I care to admit. I have reasons - I am married to a Scorpio, I am the mother of two very young children, I work and work and work - but I also have excuses, which I readily employ when given an evening to write and spend it doing other things. I clean out a closet or weed my Facebook friends. I hand wash dishes. I re-organize the playroom. This loathsome stuff can wait. The writing can't, and shouldn't, but it does. Why?
Because it's hard. Because I'm tired. Because some evenings I'm crippled by the thought of being bound to what's out there, what's already written and read by people who aren't my best friend. Readers' expectations can be as terrifying as they are thrilling. But other evenings? Having readers makes it easy.
The zealots of stone and flesh fought on, those who dared come close vanishing in a sickly puff of smoke and oil and ash. I had the power to reduce a score of women to smudges, the stink of grease, but could not save even one.
Hammering out that little gem today and sharing it reminded me why I do what I do instead of catching up on sleep. I don't write every day. But even getting a two or three-day streak in makes me feel like I could conquer my little domestic round of a world with a jelly jar of wine, a pair of earbuds, and an outdated version of Microsoft Office. I can do it. I should do it. I just need to learn to sit. I need to learn to stay.
* Maybe because I am a cat person?