It’s noon. I’m bleary eyed, staring at the laptop, willing words to flow out of my fingerprints. Got to bed at 12:30 last night, was up at 6:15, attended a rigorous yoga class at 9 AM.
Now, the house is quiet.
In two hours, three children will traipse through the door with all of their demands. Laundry calls to me from upstairs. I have to figure out dinner. I have to call the piano tuner. I should get the mail. See what bills need to be paid.
The couch beckons with its cushiony surface. “Come nap on me,” it says. “Step away from the novel. Come, sit back, relax, stay awhile.”
I reach for a glass of water, push my sit bones deeper into the chair.
“I must write my two pages,” I tell myself. “I must right them now, quickly, before my entire afternoon devolves into chaos.”
My lids grow heavy. I want to lay my head down. But I won’t.
I recently had lunch with the AAWW interns, and one of them asked me, “What do you think, having taught writers for a while, is the thing that makes the big difference? What separates the students who go on to become writers from the students who don’t?”
“Stamina,” I said, very quickly. Persistence is the gift that brings all the others. I know many writers with a great deal of talent who do not write. Art is not fair, it is not democratic, it has no court of appeals. Talent is not equally apportioned, but luckily it also doesn’t matter as much as stamina. There is little science to it all that is reliable except that I have seen persistence carry the day over talent again and again. And it may be this that inspires me most of all.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend, filled with the best kind of stamina.