Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

From a little spark may burst a flame.” Dante Alighieri 

Show up. I’ve heard myself say these words over and over, and yes, over again. Whether I’m prattling on in my own head or giving advice to others, I have a tendency towards repetition. I guess I figure the practice helps me remember what is important both in life and more specifically in my work as a writer. 

What starts as a thought or an idea for a story, a blog, or a novel, blooms into a sentence, and soon after, a paragraph. If I stick with it, I end up with a page, then in the case of a novel, a chapter, and eventually two, three, four and more, chapters. The novel comes to life. Does it happen overnight? Absolutely not. It takes years, at least for me, of showing up at my desk every morning or at least most mornings. 

Once I have the first draft, the story I’ve told myself and committed to paper, moves into the stage I like the best: editing and rewriting. This phase helps me understand the themes I’m exploring and the story I’m trying to tell through the characters I’ve created. This process also points the way to how and where I need to plunge deeper. 

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of quitting. I question my motivation and my sanity - often. Then I remind myself of the one thing I know to be true: the validity of the spark of the idea that initiated the work in the first place. That idea along with the goals for the project carry me forward. Day in, day out.

So, in this first week of a new year as I grieve the tumultuous year that was and worry about what lies ahead, the only way forward, the only thing I know I have some control over is, yes, you guessed it, showing up.

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