Climbing that Mountain

April 8, 2008

Finished chapter 1.  Only 23 more to go (give or take…)  

My friends at (Faith Hunter, C.E. Murphy, and Misty Massey) and I have been posting and commenting a lot recently about the difficulties inherent in writing as a profession.  Catie has been struggling with a book — she’s reached that point just past the middle where everything seems to fall apart, at least for a while.  I have the same problem with every book I write.  Just about 60% of the way through I come to the conclusion that the book sucks, that I’m a hack, and that I really ought to be doing something else with my life.  Then I find a way past whatever problem had me stumped, and by the time I’m done I’m convinced that it’s the best book I’ve ever written.

I struggled a bit with this first chapter, as I always do.  I’m sure the second and third will give me some trouble, too, but then I’ll find a rhythm with the story and everything will be fine.  Misty and Faith post all the time about how important it is to get past whatever troubles they’re having, put their butts in the chair, and write.

Writing is hard.  It’s work.  Books are not so much products of talent as they are products of perseverence.  During the course of writing a novel I can find a thousand things that could convince me to stop writing.  I get frustrated with a plot line that doesn’t go where I want it to.  Even as I hone my craft, I still see flaws in my writing that discourage me and make me want to chuck the whole thing.  I get tired of all the craziness inherent in the publishing business.  I wish I was making more money.  Blah, blah, blah. 

But for all these reasons why I could quit, there’s really only one that keeps me going:  I have to finish the story.  I have to finish it for me, I have to finish it for my characters.  Yesterday, Faith compared writers to mountaineers and marathoners.  Both are good analogies.  Runners finish the marathon despite the pain because quitting is unthinkable.  Mountain climbers reach the summit for the same reason.  In my opinion, that’s why writers finish books.  I can’t run a marathon and I don’t have the strength or the drive to climb Denali.  But I’ll be damned if I will let myself be beaten by a book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: