One true thing

For the past few weeks, life has been uptempoed and I’ve been barely writing. Tonight I determined I would do something about that. No word goals. Just time at keyboard. That was the plan.

I spent ten minutes staring at the screen, unable to find anything to add to it. This. Has never. Happened to me. Ever.

(Oh, don’t worry, you’re tired, this happens to lots of men. Well, it doesn’t happen to me.)

Okay. Okay. I know how my brain works. If I talk this out, I’ll get through it. So I typed my issues onto the screen. I was not, it seems, a writer. Writers do this and that and know the other and so forth. All I had going for me was…well, all of that. Except I was sure I didn’t. But I saw the words on the screen saying I did, and if someone writes it, it must be true.

But I wasn’t a writer, so I didn’t have anything to write.

Deep breath. Calm down. I gave me platitudes.

“Don’t write it right, write it down.”

“Write one true thing.”

“Don’t write the book. Don’t write the chapter. Don’t write the paragraph. Write the sentence.”

One true sentence, written badly. I could do that.

No, I couldn’t.

I looked at the two pages of degradation of my character, and realized I could…but I still couldn’t.

Okay, pare it down some more. Write one true word. Badly.

I wrote, “I”.

I stared at it. It didn’t seem to do much for the book. 79,000 just like it, and I’d have something.

So, I got one word. Write two words.

“I felt”.

I heard me take a breath to suggest three, and the third one came out with a sob, and the screen washed away in fear and guilt and anger and poured down my face and arms and into my hands and I wrote paragraphs.

It took me 45 minutes to write not quite 100 words. I’ll do another 100 tomorrow. If this is how it has to go, then this is how it’ll go. I stick with this, I’ll have a first draft in less than two years.

Okay.

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