Author of What’s Not Said (She Writes Press, 2020) and What’s Not True (She Writes Press, August 2021)
Imagine you’re running low of your favorite brand of body lotion. You add it your list and pray the store will have it in stock, on the shelf, waiting for you to purchase the next time you shop. In other words, ready when you are.
Now, imagine you’re a writer, rolling up to your desk one day ready to craft the next great American novel. Your idea for the story is big, bold, and exciting. At least to you! You’ve even chosen a title for this work-in-progress, written a 250-word prologue, introduced your protagonist and antagonist in the first chapter, and created a conflict that will instantly hook your readers. Rubbing your hands together, you throw your hands in the air! Oh what a day it’s been!
Over the next four weeks, the words flow like a waterfall. The plot thickens, your characters come to life, the stakes keep getting higher and higher. You’re steamrolling into the middle of the story, enjoying every ounce of the creative juices emerging from your brain and out through your fingertips.
One morning during the fifth week, you watch the news, have your breakfast, take your vitamins, complete the New York Times mini-puzzle on your iPad in just 45 seconds; beating your usual two minutes by a long shot. Oh what a day it’s shaping up to be!
Except you’ve already used up one hour of the three you had scheduled for writing that best-seller. That’s okay. You put your rear in the chair and roll up to your desk. The laptop hums awake, your cordless mouse is still charged, and your second monitor is thankfully cooperating. Your basic writing tools are ready when you are, just like the store where you buy your much loved body lotion.
And then it happens. You look at the monitor. At the keyboard. You open the manuscript and decide to read the last two chapters you wrote, using up more precious writing time. Nevertheless, you plod along, work your way through some thickly-contrived storylines, confident your heroine will pull you through toward the end.
Of course, she does. She can see the end in sight and shows you the way. “Just keep priming the pump,” you imagine she tells you; there’s smooth sailing up ahead as you approach the finish line. After a time, the story is finished. You type: THE END. And just as when your favorite bottle of body lotion is empty, you pray you’ll have another big idea in your stockpile so that your laptop, keyboard, and monitor are ready when you are.