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I got about 200 words in yesterday. (I blame the migraine, in part, but unfortunately I can’t land all the blame on the migraine, because it went away eventually.) I hate days like that: days when the story is still taking shape in your head, or maybe just sitting on your mental couch, watching BTVS reruns and not doing much of anything, and putting anything coherent on the page is like trying to pilot a raft made of crackers — it just keeps coming apart under you before you can get anywhere.

(Yes, I am eating crackers, why do you ask?)

Anyway, I was describing this process to a friend a little while back: you know, The Whole Damn Mess. The awkward, messy beginnings, the Dreaded Middles, the OMGTHISISAWESOMESO WHYCAN’TIFINISH? endings — the rewrites, the agonizing synopses, the nervy, hopeful, terrified feeling of waiting to see how badly your betas shred your baby (sorry, guys; I know I just made you sound like a pack of wolves there, when you’re much more like a trauma team in the ER). The jittery, endless query letter drafts. The painstaking agent research. The leap off the cliff, and then that lovely waiting: will the hang glider work, or are you about to plant yourself several feet deep into the planet? The slap in the face of that first rejection, the learning curve –the next rewrite, the next query letter, the next rejection, the first request; hope, despair, too much chocolate, an endless parade of martinis. More letters. More rejections. More requests. More martinis.

Then that amazing, wonderful, fabulous day when you get the offer, open that bottle of champagne that’s been sitting in the fridge for more than a year at this point and bruise the hell out of your shins dancing wildly around your living room.

And then –oh hey!– you get to start pretty much from awkward, messy beginning and repeat the whole thing, only with higher stakes, longer waiting periods, and possibly deadlines. Also a much better bottle of champagne should you get to the end point in the second round.

When you put it that way it kind of makes you wonder why you didn’t take up stamp collecting, doesn’t it?

And yet.

  1. I wrote a line yesterday, in that sad 200 word count bunch, that still makes me laugh out loud every time I read it.
  2. My new MC is in for a hell of a ride according to this plot.
  3. I reread WEAVE this weekend and was astonished by how good I think it is.
  4. I think I can do this.

It’s certainly not the easiest hobby/job/vocation/calling/whatever, writing novels. It’s a bitch, actually. But it has its moments. And those moments make it all worth it, at least for me. So here I am for the nonce, I guess: kneeling on trisciuts, paddling frantically, trying to keep it all together on the way down the rapids. It would be worse: I could be bored.