Once inspired, you gotta perspire

On the twelfth day of Christmas…

Having tossed the original idea of the twelve days of Christmas away, I’m counting down the twelve days before Christmas to offer my gratitude for the people and things that make the writing life possible for me.

Today it’s perspiration. I don’t know where I sweat more, during Zumba, or when I’m writing.

My heart gets quite a work-out in both. While I love dancing my heart out to a Latin beat, it’s sweating out a scene in my latest novel that gets the real work done.

When Thomas Edison said, “Invention is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” he wasn’t kidding.

Artists, crafters—anyone who works with their hands, their hearts and their minds—to create something from nothing knows. You have to do the work once the inspiration hits.

For me that might be sitting down and thinking, “What was it I thought would be the best idea ever?” Because between the time I felt inspired and I reached for a pen, the idea had scurried away. I can get it back, by outlining, scribbling ideas, thinking hard, and sweating.

Sitting at a desk is hard work. Right? It’s stressful to make something, to turn an idea into something you can see, taste, hold, love.

It takes long hours—I start before sunup—to write a book. I sweat through outlines, timelines, first drafts, second drafts, critiques, final rewrites, rewrites after my editor gets hold of my work.

And I haven’t even included the times I’m not doing anything but sweating bullets: waiting for responses to queries or pitches, working out the details of a contract when it finally comes, then waiting for the cover, the final draft, and then the book itself.

But when you love to do something, the sweat is worth it.

So today, I’m grateful to good old sweat.

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