I find that when I am working on a long, involved project, e.g., this memoir, I must surround myself by people or things that will keep me motivated when the work gets hard, as it inevitably will. If not, I will be eating copious amounts of Nutella, cleaning grout, or napping — anything but writing.
To help me in this effort, I have strategically placed three things near my computer, so when I look up from the screen they are the first things I see. Thought I’d pass them along to encourage you and your efforts. And please — send me whatever keeps you motivated! I’ve got 81 scenes to write for this book and I’m only in the single digits.
- Encouragement from Lizz Winstead, author of the memoir Lizz Free or Die and co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show. My dear friend Lynn met the author at a book conference, sent me Lizz’s book, and an inscription from her that says: “Go Tricia! The pain is worth it!” I must read that 50 times a day.
- Artwork (a gift from a dear friend) featuring Proverbs 4:12: “As though goest, thy way shall be opened up, step by step before thee.” I delete the word step and insert “sentence by sentence.”
- The Thurber Carnival, by James Thurber. His writing is brilliantly funny, because he was so committed to his craft — I once read he edited each of his pieces more than 20 times before submitting them for publication. Footsteps to follow.
Always on hand, of course, are the wise words from Anne Lamott in her fabulous book, Bird by Bird.
Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
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