Keep the faith

When I started a short-term sabbatical in January to finish my book, Tracking Giants, I didn’t quite know where to begin.

For three years, I’d been pecking away at my book around my day job as editorial director at a busy publishing house. Now that I had the space to work on the manuscript, I panicked.

I didn’t have an established writing routine. I was putting pressure on myself to have all the answers, when I seemed to have only questions.

I knew I could easily over-schedule myself into a routine that wouldn’t feel expansive. So I shifted my perspective.

I had a draft I could shape, and more than enough material. I had a collective of supportive friends, and a substantive editor just an email away. I had time.

And most of all, I had faith. Not in the religious sense, but a belief in myself and my ability to finish.

In that first week, I wrote “faith” on the backing cardboard of a pad of grocery lists and kept it on my fridge. It’s now as essential as that holy trinity of fruit, chips, and lettuce.

Books take time. Faith takes time. It’s not one leap, but many steps. As poet Eileen Myles wrote in “Copying & Lying,” “It really takes so much time to become a writer and you have to be able to roll in time itself, that was my experience, it seems to me, like a dog likes to roll in dead fish at the beach.”

Keep the faith. Roll in time. Avoid dead fish.

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