The great hymn by James Lowell begins, "Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide." I don't know about the "Once" in that stirring opening line, but I do know that one of my own moments to decide came this morning.
It's the first day of October, and a Monday, so altogether a day filled with promise for accomplishments in the days and weeks to come. I have a plan made for my "new life" for October, a plan that centers on writing a good first draft of Izzy Barr, Running Star. The book isn't due to my editor for some time, but it's the next book in my publication lineup, and until I get it done, my imagination isn't going to feel free to wander toward the next project. Plus, I just finished revising Annika Riz, Math Whiz, so I've been spending quality time with these characters and have momentum for telling the next installment of their story.
But this morning when I woke up shortly past five and looked at the clock, I had no desire whatsoever to get out of bed. And if I did force myself out of the covers, I was more drawn to prepare for my 10:30 children's literature class, the first of five classes we'll be spending on picture books. It's hard to make yourself write when you have class preparation hanging over your head.
So I lay there for a few minutes, and then I said to myself, honey, this is the moment to decide. If you decide to go back to sleep for another hour, and then take your time fussing over what you're going to do in class today, you will get no writing done today, and then tomorrow, you'll start to think, oh, well, October didn't work out, but hey, there's still November. I knew that if I could just get up today and inaugurate my new month by writing a good page on Izzy Barr, it would be that much easier to do it again tomorrow. Whereas if I didn't get up to write this morning, it would be that much harder to do it tomorrow. To quote my favorite Arnold Bennett, from How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day: "You may fancy that the water will be warmer next week. It won't. It will be colder."
I did it. I got out of bed. Well, only to make my Swiss Miss hot chocolate, and then I got back into bed, but I got back into bed to write, and I did write, and even wrote a page I like quite a bit. Each one of my handwritten pages, scribbled in my tiny scrawl, types up to be two pages, so all I have to do is repeat this procedure every day this month and I will have 60 typed pages, or pretty close to a full first draft of this 14,000 word chapter book.
The moment to decide came, and I decided, and I'm so glad I did.