Daily Tao ☯ 7.20.17

Inexplicably grumpy today. You know how that is — nothing’s wrong, but you’re still meh. Wrote some, went to the gym, ate a lovely spinach salad, planned out the next week in the bullet journal. Wrote some more, but nothing was clicking. Finally gave up and right now I’m watching Barnwood Builders. They’re rebuilding cabins in Gatlinburg, resurrecting homes from the ashes of the 2016 fires. 

I am in the mood to chuck it all and buy a cabin in the woods somewhere, go totally off grid. A tempting thought, but what’s the real emotion behind it?

Usually, wanting to disappear into the fabric of the world means I’ve hit one of my three turning points of a novel. And sure enough, when I checked, the word count says I’ve just passed the quarter of the way spot, and I almost always, always get malaise about the book at this point. It’s part of my process. It’s a bloody annoying part of my process. And I get stubborn about things. The ideas and outline say to go one way, and my gut is telling me to go elsewhere. It’s frustrating as all get out.

This is actually an important lesson, should you be interested. Many writers peel away from a story at this point, especially new writers. The excitement of beginning makes way for the slow drudge of the middle acts—and trust me, the writing of middle acts is always a drudge—and suddenly, the shiny, fun concept you’ve been working on tarnishes.

The professional writer recognizes this for what it is. Resistance. For me, it always comes at the 25K mark. The book is just beginning to show its personality, becoming its own entity instead of what I’d originally imagined, and I, writer extraordinaire, want to run for the hills. How could I have thought this idea had merit? How could I think this storyline would work? 

This is the time to buckle down and power through. At 30k, things will smooth out. I know this. I’ve done this a few times before. Doesn’t mean it ever gets easier. And there are more all is lost moments ahead. 50K, 75K, both are always problems spots for me. Plus, I feel the grains of deadline sand slipping inexorably away.

And yet, somehow, someway, I’ll find the thread again. I always do.

Methinks I need a vacation — a real one, with a beach and umbrella drinks and books galore. But I haven’t earned it yet, so back to the keyboard I go. I have a show to tape in the morning, and then it’s plug away and find the thread that’s currently eluding me. I will figure this out by the weekend. I will!

Sweet dreams!