posted on April 28, 2012 13:58
When the levee breaks, the water flows forth with a vengeance.
This metaphor feels suitable based on what I noticed during the past two weeks as I completed the first draft of my latest novel, The Wine Steward’s Lover. After writing the first chapter in 2010 (and then pushing the project aside so I could keep fine-tuning my earlier novel Narcissus Blinked), I resumed steady work on the manuscript last fall. Things were flowing until around early March, when I finished Chapter 12 and knew the first draft was 75 percent of the way completed. I could taste the thrill of accomplishment, just around the corner.
And then I hit the wall, made out of writer’s blocks….or something like that.
I wrote very sporadically during the weeks that followed. Chapter 13 would just not come together. I limped through it, and finally finished it around the first week of April. I had three more chapters to go, and had lost my momentum.
And then, just as sudden as the wall stood before me, the wind suddenly engulfed my sails and the path forward became clear. I wrote the final three chapters—a total of about 13,000 words—in a fraction of the time it normally takes me to complete such an amount of work. There was no stopping me. I was focused.
What did this teach me about perseverance, from an indie author’s perspective? When you lose momentum, KEEP WRITING. Even if it’s only a few words a day. Even if the words taste dull. The very act of writing keeps the prime pump for more writing, and eventually you experience a sudden breakthrough—the author’s version of satori.
The opposite tactic, I suppose, would be doing nothing—as in, not writing at all—and just feeling sorry for yourself. But you’re not going to settle for that…right?