Navigating the messy middle of the book
I am wearing sweat yoga pants and an ancient YMCA t-shirt. My hair is gross, scraped back into a ponytail and I am not allowed to wash it, because if I do, then I will run away from my house on some urgent pretext like washing my car. So far this morning, I have walked the dog. Started the laundry. Tried to justify to myself that going for a swim at the Y doesn’t really count as running away from the book, even though when I ran away to the massage therapist yesterday he commented that perhaps my head likes going to Nia and Zumba and swimming five times a week, but my still-healing knee is getting cranky about it. But a writer needs exercise! I protested. Her knee also needs rest, he said.
Now I have started the laundry. Eaten some peanut butter toast. It’s almost time for the internet to come on (at noon), at which point I will be able to run away into answering Really Important Business emails, and send files to an editor who is working with me on a side project, and post blogs, and all those other things that will feel like work but are not.
I’m up to my neck in a first draft that has a million dead ends and weird transitions and scenes that will never make the final cut. The language in places is so much worse than pedestrian that I would die of embarrassment if anyone, even my very best friend, read it. Characters I don’t know suddenly wander on stage and ask for a voice. Last night, I moaned over supper that the book is a wreck and I have no idea what to do with it. “I have,” I said sadly, “forgotten how to write.”
“Ah,” Christopher Robin said calmly, gladly slurping down the elaborate chicken dish that was the side effect of my angst. “It’s become a teenager, has it? [Read more…]