When I finished writing yesterday, I’d completed another chapter. Now I had three chapters that needed to be pulled together. Each was a thread that seemed unrelated to the others, even though I knew they were related.
Walking along, I thought about that writing process. I’d envisioned something happening to these characters, gone down several side trails (creating the three threads) and now had to tie them together to return to the original story line. I thought about how much of my writing seems like problem solving, and things I’ve done all my life, from solving math problems in school to logic problems done for pleasure, personnel issues because I’d become a manger, on to difficult business cases that required me to find, compile, and analyze data using spreadsheets.
I’ve heard people say that they wrote something but didn’t finish it, because they didn’t know what to do next. Resolving those things shouldn’t stop us, if we’re writers. We dig more deeply, searching for ways to finish the story we’re telling. How we get to that point that we find a way varies. I walk and noodle, and sometimes read other books. Reading fiction often seems to open another door in my mind. It’s a fresh reminder of the importance of reading if you’re writing. Reading stimulates my imagination and creativity.
While I walked and thought, I recognized that I was also intimidated. I was afraid of making a mistake, tying the three together. It’s a major moment in this series.
That amused me, since I knew that what I wrote when I write like crazy is rarely the finished product. I make mistakes, and correct them, trying to improve the story and how I’m telling it. But I also realized that I was over-analyzing what was going on, a regular problem I have with myself for everything from deciding what to order on a menu to, well, writing a novel.
I also laughed at myself because I thought, a million words written, and it seems like a million more to go. It staggered me to think that these four novels plus the support documents for this series added up to over a million words. It didn’t seem like a million words, but I never thought about the sum total when I wrote them. I just wrote, word by word, and it all came together.
It reminded me, too, of walking to get somewhere, and stopping partway through the journey because I’m hot, sweaty, and tired, and realized, I’ve come so far, but there’s more to go. So I pause, look around, accept that I have to walk on to get anywhere, and continue on the path that I began to follow.
So, deep breaths, I told myself. Just sit down, have some coffee, and write. I’ve written a million words; what’s a million more?
Okay, I’ve had the coffee, and I’m sitting down. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.