Brief instructions on how to be a novelist.
First, make coffee. Better yet, go get some. Public places better for some reason anyway. Observe people. No TV to watch. Something like that. Pack up the computer, power cord, notebook containing scrambled junk you’ve taken down in the guise of notes. Don’t bring anything else. Phone is necessary unfortunately. For emergencies only though. Got everything. Check again. Don’t leave anything behind else if you come back you won’t leave again. Think of a place to go that has accessible power outlets, good parking, not too crowded, few distractions. Absolutely no TVs. No shortage of Starbuckses around. (Side note: figure out plural of Starbucks eventually. But not now. Too distracting. Stay on target.) Those’ll do in a pinch, but local would be better. Connect with the city in which you live. Got it. Nearby, quiet, unknown. Grab bag. Lock door. Drive there. Use this time to plan few blessed hours of writing. Leave radio off. Distracting.
Parking is easy. Place is not popular, which is good because no one is ever there but bad because it will probably go out of business soon. For now, it is the hideout. Tables are scarce, small, nearly inadequate, but almost romantically so. This will do. Order coffee. Make yourself go to the bathroom first like a toddler just to get it out of the way. Don’t want an interruption later. Plug in computer. Open Word. Avoid habitual tendency to open the internet first. Browsers are black holes. Only use for reference later. Like the phone, emergencies only. Get out alleged notes. Start typing.
Take two seconds. Breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Hear it. Let it come. It will burst into your mind, into your heart, it will erupt through your body into your arms and out through your fingers in wild blue sparks, in wordstorms, sentenceriots, pagequakes. It will possess your hands. Words will flow like rain off of rooftops. They will scream at you and pound the inside of your skull. They will be so ecstatic and forceful that you wlil hardly be able to record them fast enough. Soon. Inspiration, muse, call it what you will. You have touched it before, felt it’s fire, it’s divinity. You have rubbed elbows with it’s opulence, consorted with it’s trusted companionship, been held by it’s loving embrace. Nothing like it in the world.
Only wait. Any moment now.
Something in you says, just start typing. But typing what? No, it must be right. Must be glorious and flawless. Miraculous. Candid and astute, spewing verve and panache, wit and patience, demonstrating unequivocally that you are the writer that was destined to come. It must be this, and nothing else. Merely good will not do.
So you must wait. As long as it takes.
(While you’re waiting, open the internet. See what’s up. Won’t hurt. Just for a moment. Get right back off. Really, you will this time. Promise yourself.)
Dark outside. Time’s up. Frown. Close Word document. (Select “No” when it asks if you want to save.) Close notebook. Close computer. Close your eyes. Sigh audibly.
Try again tomorrow.