And I know
Many valuable things,
That I hadn’t known before…
-Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Woods
This summer, sitting down to write usually makes me feel a little like Little Red Riding Hood heading off in Into the Woods. I haven’t started my day by stealing treats from the Baker and his Wife, but each day begins with excitement and trepidation. You never know what you’ll find “in the woods” when you’re diving down the long journey back into years of research and writing.
Several weeks in, it’s still exciting. And nerve-wracking.Some days are marvelous, when you know exactly what you want to say and the words come easily. On other days, you quickly learn what Red meant when she said that “even flowers have their dangers.” Some days, those are the distractions; other days, the flowers are the things you desperately need to add in order to make things work.
Today has been one of those days. I’m diving in to a new chapter after more than a week away at a teacher institute in DC. I’ve been a little nervous over it all weekend, partially because it’s easier once I get into the middle of the chapter.
A month ago, I toyed with the idea of holing up in my hotel room each night to write. Two weeks ago, I decided that was a bad idea: if I’ve learned anything while writing my book, it’s been that time does not hurt me. I see the woods differently now. It’s easier to tell which flowers are worth pausing for, and which are going to lead me further astray.
I haven’t gotten very far down the path today, but I think I know the route better for tomorrow.