You know when I love writing? Not when I remember at the last minute that it’s my day to post, and I haven’t started the short story I promised for the fifteenth… There are lots of days I don’t write. But I believe I can write, and I know I write well, when I bother to do it. I especially love writing when I am so convinced I’ve gotten it right that I start crying.
Most of the Mermaids know that I spent a good twenty years out of the writing loop. I’d hung up my keyboard, decided the life wasn’t for me. But, secretly, I was lying.
Because of the one thing I did write: Christmas letters. Every year, I set myself a deadline and I wrote the absolute best Christmas letter I possibly could write. This was my way of proving to myself that I could write, and write well.
My letters always had a title. They always had a message. I condensed a year of family news into a single page. They were funny. I slaved for funny. But it was the last paragraph that got the most attention.
My letter always ended with one paragraph that hit it home. I didn’t stop writing until I felt the tears rolling down my cheeks because I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this one paragraph would make the season. I actually got fan mail for my Christmas letters.
I was watching The Natural on ESPN Monday night and was reminded of how I burst into tears at the ending the first time I saw it. That, I told Mr. Headofthehousehold, is what I want with my writing. I want to write like that. Like I wrote in my Christmas letters. But in book length. And then last night, I told him I would write three chapters before school starts, so I can call my book done. At last.
Do you have moments like this? When clarity seems to strike and you have an idea of where you’re supposed to be going? Even if you’re wrong, it seems like the right way to go.
Write it fast. Get it done. And make yourself cry. Because doing less is not an option.
I have until Monday. And this post was late, because (gulp) I was starting another chapter.