Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I do a yoga tape, practicing the first two sequences in Ashtanga yoga, Suriyanamaskar A and B. (Sun Salutations). Yoga is supposed to be the perfect compliment to a runner. (We tend to be tight, and I don’t mean regarding money, I mean as in not very flexible. )
At the beginning of this tape, the narrator/teacher says to stand with one’s feet together, at the top of the mat. She tells us that it is the belief that all yogis have stood in the exact same spot. Her statement brings about a sense of solidarity or unity, a togetherness and feeling that even though you might be doing the practice alone, over time, the sequences have been done by many, and are being done by many at that very moment.
I think of writing and writers in a very similar way.
We – you, me, others – who spend time creating stories, are on the same path, so to speak. We may be at different junctures in the process, but at some point, we have sat down at our keyboards, opened up our documents, set the formatting for the proper spacing and font, spaced down, and if we have a working title, we have put that in. We have typed Chapter One, or the equivalent of whatever constitutes the beginning of what we call our work in progress.
We might have had several false starts on a first sentence. We might have had half the story already written in our heads. We might have changed our minds and started over with a new idea. We have set goals. We have watched the word count increase. We tried not to revise too much before a first draft was done. We have had moments of crisis. We have consulted others for opinions. We have read about writing, practiced writing, but mostly, we have kept on.
And somewhere, whether it’s months, a year, or years, we have typed THE END. We have had an editor look at it. We have revised, tweaked, worried over words, and the story, for that matter. Eventually, we felt it was ready. At this point, you could say the similarities end. There are those who’ve successfully secured an agent, those who’ve gained a publishing contract, and on and on.
So, for me, the one singular time we share strikingly similar paths, the time when our rituals and processes bear that resemblance to the yoga instructor’s words, is when we first set ourselves down and begin the task of writing, take the steps towards that particular goal with that like minded way of getting it done.
You really are not alone when you write. There are many with you, in solidarity. Keep going.