From "Beginning Again," in Dani Shapiro's luminous book, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of the Creative Live (which I highly recommend):
"We maybe halfway through a novel, an essay, a story, or a memoir or we may be near the finish line on a piece that has taken us years. But wherever we are in our work, we have never been exactly here, today. Today, we need to relearn what it is we do. We have to remind ourselves to be patient, gentle with our foibles, ruthless with our time, withstanding of our frustrations. We remember what it is we need. The solitude of an empty home, a walk through the woods, a bath, or a half hour with a good book -- the echo of well-formed sentences in our ears. Whatever it takes to begin again....
"Writing is hard. We resist, we procrastinate, we veer off course. But we have this tool, this ability to begin again. Every sentence is new. Every paragraph, every chapter, every book is a country we have never been to before. We're clearing the brush. We don't know what's on the other side of that tree. We are visitors in a foreign land. And so we take a step. Up the stairs after the morning coffee. Back to the desk after the doorbell has rung. Return to the manuscript.
"It never gets easier. It shouldn't get easier. Word after word, sentence after sentence, we build our writing lives. We hope not to repeat ourselves. We hope to evolve as interpreters and witnesses of the world around us. We feel our way through darkness, pause, consider, breathe in, breathe out, begin again. And again, and again."
That's what I am doing this morning. Beginning again. Strolling through the hills and then returning to my desk, papers and books spread around me, a mug of coffee in hand, Tilly at my side.