During the Leeds conference, I enjoyed a couple of conversations with a woman who once taught in my grad program. She is both glamorous and enormously accomplished: speaks multiple languages fluently, has excellent Latin and Greek, attended one of those women’s colleges that makes sure an alumna has the backbone of a mastodon, then racked up degrees from and jobs at a series of internationally-renowned universities. She does not suffer fools, gladly or otherwise. I don’t think she has ever experienced a second of self-doubt, and, really, why should she?

It occurred to me that I could do with a dose of what powers her. When she sits down to write, I bet she looks forward to telling people what’s what, rather than worrying about why anyone should listen to her.

What’s more, I’m sure she never produces crappy first drafts: pearls of prose form effortlessly. But if she were me, with my methods of working, she would say, “Hey, this is what I do, and because it is mine, it is wonderful, and anyone who doesn’t like it can shut up and keep shutting up until I have a draft, and then a revision, and then another revision. And now I will tell you what’s what.”

So this is one of my new self-motivating questions: What would D. do?

I don’t know how long the effects will last (every trick loses its glamour eventually), but at the moment, channeling D. when I sit at my desk is a lot of fun! WWDD? Tell them what’s what.

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