After graduating college and moving in with Andy, one of the first things I did was buy a desk. I needed a desk, I thought. How else could I write if I didn’t have a dedicated space for it?
Next I bought a chair. Of course. What good is a desk without a chair?
Then I got a new computer. (A gift.) A beautiful, shiny MacBook. A dream machine. What else could I possibly need?
An external keyboard. A new desk. Another new desk. And another. I rearranged the furniture. I got dictation software. I tried a different word processing program. And another. And another.
I went to the library to work. I went to a coffee shop. I stayed home and turned off my internet. I turned it back on. I worked with music, and without. I stayed up late. I got up early.
I’ve tried everything, and really, the changes are minute. Good days and bad days still come in about the same ratio. The words have their pace, their rhythm. They don’t answer to me or my environment.
Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Well, someday.” Someday I’ll have a real office. Someday I’ll be able to afford to work at a coffee shop every day. Someday I’ll have an agent, an editor, deadlines. (Fans, awards, a movie deal.) Someday I’ll buy a better chair.
And maybe someday I will. Maybe someday I will have all of those things and more. But even now, in the midst of the daydreaming and wishing, I know.
I know that those things won’t — can’t — do what I need to do.
I know that it’s nice to have good tools in your arsenal, but they’re not going to do the work for you.
And I know I’m not the only one who falls into this trap. We all get caught up in thinking — imagining, believing — that things will be different — better, easier — in the future. But the truth is, no matter how much money we have, or how famous we get, or how good our chair is, or how delicious the muffins are at the coffee shop where we work instead of at a folding table in our bedroom… No matter what’s around us, it’s what inside us that counts.
Aspiring, midlist, unknown, bestseller. At the end of the day, we’re all in the same place. We’re all faced with the page. The story. The words.
Nothing changes that. Ever.