“An incurable itch for scribbling takes possession of many, and grows inveterate in their insane breasts.” Juvenal, Satires
“When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen. But if you have not a pen, I suppose you must scratch any way you can.” Samuel Lover, Handy Andy, 1842
“The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it.” Jules Renard, "Diary," February 1895
When I received the phone call late last Sunday afternoon that I’d be teaching middle-school Science for five consecutive days, I was filled with relief. Although teaching a bunch of middle school students a subject that wasn’t my forte wasn’t the best way to spend a week, it was good for several reasons. One, no early calls for a whole week. Two, out of the previous nine days I was available to work, I’d only been called for two of them.
Now it’s Monday, which is a holiday, and I’m wondering what this four-day school week will bring me. If I don’t get a call today, I’ll once again set my alarm for 5:25AM, just in case. I’ve resigned myself to it, even if it’s not ideal.
Whether I’ve been working or home, I’m at least proud of the fact that I’ve been productive. In between chores and teaching periods, I’ve edited my manuscript, Indigo in the Know. It’s now with my father-in-law, who is more proficient at grammar than me. He’ll also take out all my unnecessary commas. Once he’s made some progress, I’ll send it back out to agents and editors. I have my blog on positive rejections to thank for reworking Indigo. Reading the feedback I’d received on it, plus the length of time it had been since I’d last looked at it, made it the perfect time to see the manuscript with new eyes.
Unfortunately, I’ve now gotten the itch to write something new. The idea came to me the other day, based on something my daughter had said in the summer that’s been a running family joke. The familiar whispers have begun, though I do my best to ignore them. Why should I write something new when I have several other pieces just waiting to be reedited and resubmitted? How many unpublished manuscripts should I accumulate? But if each piece of writing is better than the previous one, then perhaps I should write something new. I spend a lot of time talking myself into and out of working on each new idea until the whispers turn into words, then into lines, and finally, into plots. At that point, if I don’t write it down, I can’t fall asleep, and then I wake up in the middle of the night, and early in the morning (earlier than 5:25AM), with the story begging to be written.
When I searched for the quote that would match what I was writing about, all of the above quotes surfaced, so similar, speaking to my state that I included them all. More than anything else, those quotes remind me what I have in common with accomplished writers. The quote below illustrates what I have in common with those writers that aren’t accomplished. But maybe that’s not quite right; to write at all is itself an accomplishment. Perhaps I’ll begin a new piece after all.
“No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.” Russell Lynes