After an excruciating three weeks of trying — and failing — to make a difficult chapter work, yesterday morning I woke up at 5:45 with this sentence in my head: “There is so much to tell.” And that was it. Six words, six syllables, and I knew I had it. I wanted to rush out of bed, up to my office, and write it fast, while I had the thing in my head.
But when I got up, there was Henry, my five-year-old, in the bathroom peeing, and when he was done he came out and hugged me around my leg and said he wanted to come into the big bed to snuggle. So I climbed back into bed and we snuggled awhile, until Henry announced, “I’m done snuggling.”
Then I pulled on a pair of jeans and bolted up to my office to write the first few pages of this chapter in an extended gush. Most of it poured out in long run-on sentences — and … and … and — but the new material is good, and I am elated to have broken through, finally.
There is nothing worse than being stuck. The project loses momentum, and with each passing day it becomes harder and harder to get that boulder moving again. Today, I feel massively relieved. Now the thing is to keep it moving, to maintain that momentum.
(Note: A reader-friend commented yesterday that it takes a while for a blog to find its voice, and in the first couple of weeks of its existence, this one has been a little random and unfocused. To restate my intentions here, I’d like this blog to focus primarily on my own books and my writing process. There is still room for discussing other things — books and movies and whatever odd bits I come across — but the main subject of this blog, as the blog title suggests, is my own writing life.
In that spirit, this post is the first in a thread that will cover the writing of my upcoming third novel. I’ll tag these posts “bookthree,” since Book Three does not have a title yet. The truth is, I’ve always kept a journal in which I record the progress, frustrations, and so forth having to do with my writing. My journal is also the place where I work through the obstacles any novelist runs into in the course of a project. From now on, I’ll do the same in public, to some extent. If there are interesting problems or developments in writing Book Three, I’ll post them here with the tag “bookthree.” Another experiment — we’ll see how it goes.)