I quit smoking 14 years ago and I haven't had a drag on a cigarette since. It was hard. I'd smoked for years and I liked it. Anyone who knew me well thought I would never quit. Neither did I.
Sixteen years ago, I wrote an eight page letter to someone very close to me. It wasn't a nice letter. I wrote things I'd never have the courage to say out loud, things I'd only thought before, things that would flatten this person if they ever read it. I still have that letter in a sealed envelope. I never mailed it and I never will. Writing it was enough for me.
Eighteen years ago an ex-boyfriend took me for dinner right before I moved across the country to live with the man I eventually married. He tried to talk me out of leaving, and when the waitress brought us our fortune cookies, he said, "Why don't you crack yours open & make the decision to stay or go based on what it says inside?" But I'd already made my decision, so I never did crack open that fortune cookie. I still have it, inside an old tin box at the back of my closet.
I received an email from a reader this week asking where I found the willpower to write novels. Wasn't it hard?
Yes, it is, but it's like quitting smoking, or not mailing that letter, or keeping that unopened fortune cookie all these years. I have wanted to be an author since I was ten years old, and I am stupid stubborn about remaining one now that I've got my foot in the door. However, that said, I do have a saying taped to my monitor that helps give me willpower when I feel myself losing steam: Nothing is particulary hard if you divide it into small jobs -- Henry Ford.