A few weeks ago my wife sent me a link to an event at which fellow Red Roomer Khaled Hosseini would be speaking.
Now, as I've mentioned before (Time to Write), I found his story about writing at 4am a way to fit writing into my schedule, as well. It's a habit I generally follow rain or, well, they don't get snow here, so rain or darkness, to this day, just about every day, waking before dawn and the kids to get some time in to write, usually about two hours, before I need to get ready (and others ready) for the day.
Of course, since then (2008) I have produced two New York Times best sellers and... oh, wait. No matter, I've added another short story to the Fenway Fiction collections since then, a short-ish story/ebook called "The History of the Mayan Ball League," and am in the third draft of a little thing I'm calling Butterfly, a short story: a novel. So I don't feel like I'm doing too bad. But one great big kick in the pants, to get the ebook out, anyway, was seeing Khaled speak at the Harker School in San Jose.
I was fortunate enough to attend the pre-talk handshake session with Mr. Hosseini, who was gracious and patient with all the people who attended. He took the time to meet and chat with each one of us in the pre-session, and was actually quite funny in person, and was able to take a joke or two. Of course, the vast majority of the interview with a local news reporter focused on writing with the occasional dip into his foundation, so even outside the meet and greet it was a pure pleasure, one of those moments you don't often get, as a writer, to simply bask in the unashamed glow of talking about writing. It's easy to forget, in the quiet of 5am, the joy of creating something out of nothing, the somewhat guilty pleasure of arsing around with a bunch of words. It's very easy to just molder away in front of the laptop, thinking: "Oh god, it's early... early. Early. Very early. Are those the sprinklers? I thought I'd turned those off. Better check... no. Better sit here. So early."
So I highly recommend this sort of thing, the type of event like Mr. Hosseini put on. It was a great pleasure meeting him, and the last time I'd felt something like that was back in Boston, where they have an excellent organization called Grub Street dedicated to putting on these sorts of events that will inspire you and make you want to get up at 5am and push those unhelpful thoughts about the earliness of the hour aside and get writing and just enjoy it. If you go for a lunch time writing session (free for members) or their annual Muse and the Marketplace conference (they've brought in some amazing speakers, including Ann Patchett, she of the indie bookstore in Nashville, a few years ago), they'll charge you up in a way that you might find you need, especially if you're squeezing your writing into the dirty corners of the day.
Causes Matthew Hanlon Supports
The Jimmy Fund, The Neely House, UNICEF