I remember the moment. I am standing in my study at my bookshelf. It is 1988 or 1989. I am in college, a sophomore. I have just pulled down a Hemingway novel – I don’t remember which one – and am leafing through it, reading a line here, a line there. And then I pause, look up and think to my naive experience-lacking self, “I can do this. I can write a novel. It can’t be that hard.”
Thirty years later I have a graduate degree in writing and my debut novel is about to be released.
I look back and I was right, I can write a novel.
I look back and I was wrong, it can and is hard.
But, this is how it always starts, with an unfounded idea. Whether it’s writing a novel, starting a business, or running a marathon, it always starts with simply pointing your nose in a specific direction. And it always starts with untethered, joyful ignorance of the difficulty ahead.
Along the way you will need to say again, a thousand times, that you can (still) do this. There may not be another living soul who has bought into your shenanigans. That’s fine. What you’re doing is personal. It’s yours alone. And it will remain that way for a long time to come.
Some years later when it’s no longer personal, it’s being turned out, into the wild, to fend for itself.