Just Write it Down

Every since I can remember I have wanted to write a book.   I guess that’s not an uncommon goal for us humans. In my daytime career, I read and write a great deal, but it does not satisfy my creative needs. I imagine it’s a bit like trying to scratch the travel itch by just reading about a place; it just doesn’t do the job – the sounds, smells, and experience can only be gained by going there.

A few years ago I moved into a smaller office to cut overhead (it was 2008). I moved into a closet with another attorney – our desks were literally 18 inches from one another. Luckily, he is a criminal defense attorney meaning that he spends more time at the courthouse than he does in the office. So, the place was practically mine. And then I added a paralegal to the closet . . . but that’s another story.

My new friend was / is a storyteller. One day, at my request for a good one, he wove a tale about a man that he represented who was wrongfully accused and almost convicted for a murder he didn’t commit. There are so many amazing and quirky parts to this story that I immediately thought, “This would make a great book, and I need to write it.”

Of course, I didn’t get to work on this idea immediately. As an attorney, I am blessed to stay fairly busy with work and my spare time is precious. Plus, while I have always wanted to write a book, I have a lot of self-doubt about whether I have what it takes to actually do it. Would my time be better spent doing something else? What if I spend all this time researching (which makes me salivate) and then get to writing a book that sucks? We only have so much time on the planet, should I “waste” it by working on this book, or any book for that matter?

Finally, after months (ok, a year or two) of mental masturbation, I said enough! Insert conversation with the universe: Ok. You have delivered this idea to me. I keep thinking about it so it hasn’t deserted me. I am going to do this – research, organize, write, and write. I’m going to leave the results up to you and see what happens. If nobody ever reads this book or it never gets published, that’s ok. My job is to get it down and bring it to life no matter what kind of life it has (a hermetic one in my computer, or a life of wanderlust travelling the globe).

Once I put this out there, a few “coincidences” occurred, and I started taking some action. (I don’t believe in coincidence by the way. In my world, EVERYTHING happens for a reason.) The biggest aha was a quote I read from Anne Lamott:

“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

Enough said, my friend. The criminal case file has been ordered from storage and will be here next week. Happy researching!


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