"Write," she says.
"About what?" I wonder.
"About anything, and everything, and nothing at all. Just write. Get a pen, a notebook, and a quiet place. And write."
Still unsure of what I will end up with, I begin to scratch pen on paper, leaving telltale trails of black ink behind. Perhaps in this writing I will find my muse, or myself. Most likely I'll find it is hard to hold the pen for that long. Already my hand and arm are starting to ache. I don't write that much, not with the ease and simplicity of the computer. Writing is slower. And painful. My thumb is hurting. My fingers feel tight. There is even a feeling of resistance in my wrist. And I'm not even one-third of the way done. Not even one full page yet. I should have picked a smaller notebook. Much, much smaller.
I used to write by hand as a child. Hour after hour, pencils disappearing as the words came to life. Then, life changed. Babies came. Bearing with them these things called 'responsibilities'. And bills. Far too many bills. So the paper and pen were set aside and instead I took on the role of dutiful father, husband, middle-class American, and entry-level retail management. That became my story for thirty years, raising four wonderful children who are all responsible adults now. Out in the world on their own. Well, all but one. But more on that later.
So, why go through this? Why after so many years do I put pen to paper again, trying to turn the flow of creativity back on? Because I have to. It was why I was born. All those years of silent dreaming never drove away the desire to write, to be creative. It only made it harder and harder not to. So, last year, my wife and I had a conversation. I told her of my dream. We looked at finances, made some changes, and now I write. Not everyday, but most. The hardest part for me is when a book goes into the editing stage. Not because I'm afraid of what the editor will think of my work. But because during those days I don't write as much. I can hear my characters calling out to me, lonely and wanting to play. But I ignore them as best I can. I need to stay focused and ready to re-write paragraphs, sections, even whole chapters. I need to keep my creative energy in a box for now.
That's where I am right now, in fact. Waiting for more edits. Trying to figure out how to take a chapter that wasn't the final one and make it the end. Because the editor likes they way it leaves the reader in suspense. A bit of a cliff hanger, I guess. Funny thing is, though, I agreed right away. That's why I never self-edit my books. Another pair of eyes and all that really does help. It makes me a better writer for sure. My first book required far more edits than my current one has. Perhaps someday I'll get a manuscript back with only the word 'PERFECT' scrolled across the top. Hopefully not, though. I do enjoy the process of editing, trying to find new ways of saying the same thing. Or finding whole new possibilities that I hadn't thought of before.
And that, my friends, brings me to the end of Day 1. Be well!