So, I'm at the stage with my Work in Progress where I'm completely obsessed with it, but at the same time, want to blast it out of existence with some sci-fi weapon. I thought it was time to share my brilliant solution to this dilemma, which is: compulsive eating! Man, I just can't stop shoveling in the food, although - fyi - it does not actually help with the writing.
See, but here's the thing. After years and years and years of writing, I now know that this whole deal is known as The Process. From following successful writers on their blogs and on Twitter, I know that many of them begin loathing their books about midway through their first drafts. I know that Harper Lee once threw the only extant manuscript of To Kill a Mockingbird out of the window of her Manhattan apartment, that's how much she hated it. Fortunately, it wasn't a windy day, so when she immediately had second thoughts and scurried downstairs to retrieve it, it was still there. Lucky her. Lucky us.
I even know that gifted, experienced, widely-revered authors still fear failure as they work on new projects. Like Sara Zarr, for example.
I know all this now. I didn't know any of it in my 20's and 30's. Instead, when I reached a point like this, I would stick my partial manuscripts in a drawer and leave them there for months at a time because I couldn't bear to look at them. And I would try to just live my life and do other things, until the pressure built so high that I couldn't not write any more or else I would explode, and then I would pull the manuscript out of the drawer, force myself to read it, and, inevitably, think: this is actually not so bad, you know? I wonder who wrote it?
It's been a long journey for me from there to here. I haven't forgotten any of it, though. So if I had to choose between going through all that again or eating compulsively for a month or so at a time, it would be no contest. Hmmm.. a few extra pounds v. months of despair? Let me think about it.
IT'S THE PROCESS. It's not just me, or you, or anyone in particular. After pouring everything we've got for months on end into a book, and facing the realization that we're going to have to keep going for more months on end, we hit a wall. I'm told it happens to marathoners too, somewhere around Mile 20. They recognize the wall for what it is, and they summon all their remaining strength, and they keep going. That's what writers do too. That's what I'm going to do. My clothes might not fit as well by the time I get to the finish line, but I'm going to get there. Sometimes, my friends, it all just comes down to putting one foot in front of the other.