by Irene Latham
Once upon a time I thought in order to write a book
...I needed big chunks of time – at least a couple of consecutive hours. Not the 15 minute snatches I was able to grab between diapers and soccer practice and groceries.
...I needed a room all my own, with a door I could close. I’d call it my “study” and line the walls with books, because doesn’t that sound cozy?
...I needed to write in the mornings, because I’m a morning person.
...I needed the quiet of an empty house.
The truth is, I didn’t need any of those things as I set forth on my journey toward Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. Those ideas were merely obstacles I put in my own way – or as Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, would say, “Resistance.”
Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer for help on the time factor – after completing her program, now I can access my story any hour of the day. And if all I’ve got is 15 minutes (or 5), I can put a few paragraphs in place, often entire scenes.
Robert Olen Butler writes of in his book From Where You Dream. I’m still amazed by the miraculous solutions to story problems my brain finds and allows me to capture in those moments upon waking with that computer still in my lap.)
As for quiet: I still prefer it but can write through youngest son’s drum practice and the testosterone-roar of a roomful of teenage boys watching a football game on tv.
I’m still working on my 10,000 hours, and the Resistance still plagues me. But I battle through it. The important thing is to remember that the environment hardly matters in the face of a story that must be told.
That’s why there are ancient etchings on cave walls…