Excuse me while I get a little emotional.
Since Molly and I have started our Zoom sessions almost every night, each of us has completed FIVE books. I’ve also written two short stories. We’ve edited and published those stories too in that time.
This is especially amazing for Molly, since she has been blocked for 12 years.
While we are “sprinting,” we don’t race. If we did race, I’d lose every night! I’m pretty slow in that regard, but you don’t have to be fast when you’re consistent. That’s what Zoom has been doing for us.
We always talk awhile. How was your day? What’s going on at work or the kids or our parents? At first, yes, we did talk a LOT. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year thanks to the pandemic. Now, though, we usually talk 15 mins or so and then we get to work.
I set a 25 minute timer. Usually I have to mute once we start, because I write in the downstairs dining room and the kids are always in and out to the kitchen making racket. I put on my headphones with my book’s playlist, and we go. Once the timer goes off, I unmute and tell her. We chat a bit about the scene, or what was fun or hard. I may agonize about the never-ending sex scene, or she may laugh and tell me about a killer line. Then we go again.
Most nights, we can get in 2 sprints without even trying. Some nights we can get 3, especially if we start a little earlier. On Friday nights, if we’re on a roll, we can hit 4. The books finish themselves.
One night this week, we were talking about writing in general and we came back to the car metaphor. Sometimes when you’re in the zone, it’s like driving at night. Flying down the road with reckless abandon. You don’t even need your headlights – because you see it all so clearly. It’s glorious and exhilarating. Just you and the road and the roaring hum of the engine rumbling beneath you.
I personally love to hit that zone near the end of a book. I need the pressure of a deadline breathing down my neck to help me finish. In that impending doom, I want to hit the gas and fly the last few miles to my destination.
People say don’t burn yourself out. You’re pushing too hard…
But that’s not what my engine wants to hear. It was built for that reckless race down the dark road, going faster, harder, until we hit “the end.”
Or so I thought. During the divorce these past two years…
Sometimes I hit the gas, ready to accelerate through to the finish line, and my engine sputtered. The car actually died in the middle of the road, and I could only stare in horror as a semi-truck barreled down a hill straight at me. I missed my deadline. I pulled a pre-order. And I’ve not been the same since.
Once that happened, I’ve been a little scared to hit the gas. I don’t want my car to die. But I miss that glorious, reckless speed toward the finish line, adrenaline pumping as I soar through the night.
Regular Zoom sessions with Molly have helped me trust that when I press the pedal, my car will respond. I’ve got enough gas in the tank. My engine is a well-oiled beast. Fine-tuned, transformed, with more horses than ever beneath the hood.
I’m ready to floor it and drive through the night. Again and again and again.