The word is yes.
Sleep. And inspiration. The writer’s gifts to herself.
Commerce demanded the first few hours of my Saturday. I grumbled about it; found the bright side: I had the office to myself—a place that is, after all, only three blocks away. Two hours to duty. The rest of the day to myself.
I was a house on fire. In a good way.
I was focused. Clear. Not tentative. The chapter was not as much of a shambles as I’d feared; the days of finicking and fiddling and worry were evident on the page.
Work. Sleep. Repeat.
Sunday morning, the gift. The yes.
Coffee as usual. And at 8:30 a.m., a moment to glance at the work ahead before seeing to the neglected tasks of self-improvement in the gym downstairs. A moment that turned the day:
I looked at the work behind and the work ahead, and I said yes. I gave myself permission to do nothing else, nothing more, than exactly what I was doing at the moment. To give myself the gift of the best of my energy; to give the best of myself to the best of the day.
The chapter’s ask was an exacting one. First to last, it required an elemental change in the POV character…to take her—and through her eyes, the main character—from who she was all the way to the wonder of a world. To show us for the first time, how remarkable the title character will be. To let us know that everything is about to change. It is the moment in which the guts and heart of the book take hold. It is the last chance to ask the reader to commit before the story goes forward. A formidable task.
I didn’t leave the couch all day. I wrote. I thought. I edited. I added to the work, built it, all the way to chapter’s end. I stopped only for quick bites of food, eaten standing, and mugs of drinkables. I warmed myself at the fire inside. I gave myself to me. All because I said yes.
The power in that small, single word.
I was up far later than I should have been, listening in the dark to the readback. That the chapter needed work, that it still does, is not such a scary thing today. I am tired and happy. I will be the closet curmudgeon all day, reining in my secret tendency to snark. I will hold out doggedly against what I face in commerce. I will still feel the tug of the undertow that is my inner riptide of doubt.
But I’ll keep at it. I’ll find a way to face what I fear. Because this is one of those blessed days at the end of a blessed weekend in which I remind myself who I am. And what I do. And what I must do.