I am going to admit something totally embarrassing now:
I love Mondays.
I know that is hugely geeky and all, but I don't care. I'm tired of living a lie. I'm tired of replying, “Why, Friday, of course,” when people ask, “What's your favorite day of the week?”
I am not an idiot. I know that's what everyone wants to hear.
But it's a lie. And the lying ends now (well, obviously not all of it, or I'd be out of a job, but that one lie, anyway).
I love Mondays. And it's time geeky Monday lovers like me took a stand. A stand against the weekend. Forget Thank God It's Friday. For me, it's always Thank God it's Monday. And here's why:
Mondays are like New Year's. Every week, Monday gives us a chance to start over.
I'm serious. Let's say you did something bone-headed at school or work the week before. No problem. Everyone has the weekend to get over it. They come in on Monday, and they probably don't even remember it. Or maybe they still do, but whatever. A bunch of other stuff has happened in between then and now, and whatever stupid thing you did just doesn't seem that important anymore.
Because it's Monday. The day we start over. The perfect day, because basically, with Mondays, you get a do-over, a fresh new start.
Mondays rock this way.
That's also one of the reasons I like being a writer—I mean, as a career. Because being a writer is like having Monday EVERY DAY. Every time you sit down to work on your book, you are experiencing a Monday—a fresh new start, another chance to prove that, okay, maybe that LAST book didn't do so well, but THIS book, this new book, is going ROCK THEIR SOCKS OFF.
Now, I'm not saying there aren't those Mondays when you wake up and are like, “Oh my God, I do NOT want to go to work today.” There are always those days where you realize you hate your job, or, in my case, where you hate your book, or have been seized with the sudden realization that you've completely forgotten how to write, or do your TPS report, or payroll.
And you're sitting there panicking, going, “Wait…I need to put that in, and I can't forget that, and how am I going to convey this, without, you know, just TELLING them, and oh, God, maybe I should just apply to work at the Gap instead.”
When this happens to writers, I equate it to Sunday Night Dread. You know how on Sunday nights, you freak out a little about the work/school week ahead of you (at least, I always did. I was always like, “What am I going to wear? All my jeans are in the wash! And I didn't finish my history paper!” or “Ack! Payroll! And what if he asks for the TPS reports?”)
I know I am not alone in my Sunday Night Dread. One of my friends confessed that her mother used to get so stressed about the work week on Sunday nights, that she'd take a Valium right after Sixty Minutes. Her own doctor prescribed it, because even the doctor understood about Sunday Night Dread.
That is what the initial stages of starting a new book—or being blocked on one you've already started–is like: the Sunday night before a new work/school week, where you lay awake, dreading the week to come.
But then once you actually GET to school or work, and you have some coffee or a TaB, and you get into the groove again, you're like, “Oh, yeah. I remember this. I can do this. This is easy. Take it one TPS report at a time, baby.”
Because that's the only way you can do TPS reports, or payroll, or history papers: ONE AT A TIME.
Same with writing a book. The excellent writer Anne Lamott talks about this in her groovy book on writing, BIRD BY BIRD. Her little brother had to write a school report on different types of birds, and of course he waited until Sunday night to do it, and it was due Monday, and so, filled with Sunday Night Dread, he was hysterical. And their dad was like, “Okay. Let's just take it bird by bird.”
By Monday morning, the report was done.
That's all a book is—a collection of scenes that you just write one by one, scene by scene. That's how you get through it.
Which is exactly like how you get through the days of the week, day by day…until, once again, you've reached Monday, or MAGIC DAY, as I like to call it…the day where you get to start all over.
So remember–you don't have to wait until New Year's to turn over a new leaf. You have an opportunity to make a fresh start after every single weekend:
It's called Monday. And it starts now.