Without a doubt, the thing I say most frequently in the classroom is, “Good. What else?”
You always want the students to move from one point to the next logical step, from one example to another, from one intertextual connection to another. Learning is a constant state of dissatisfaction. You keep pressing onward, but you never arrive because it’s not about a destination. It’s about a journey.
Writing is similar. I’ve published four novels in 22 months, but my career is in stasis. I don’t have anything contracted or scheduled. I’m writing but I don’t like the words. And it’s hard to confront my own slowness and ennui because it makes it real. This business is an endless “Good, what else?” merry-go-round, and I feel like I’ve fallen off.
And as I’m sitting there in the dirt, watching the merry-go-round spin, and wondering whether I need to publish every three months, or is it five to six projects a year, or maybe one book a month would do it…I remember: it’s about a journey. I don’t have to have all the answers. Hell, I don’t even have to have completed projects or a five-year plan. Those things would be lovely, of course. But for now, it’s all very simple.
One foot, then the next. One word, one clause, one sentence. They build to a paragraph and then another.
Good. What else?