and now, some rare and enlightening insight into the writing mind.

You know what writing a novel is like?

Writing a novel is like running from New York City to Los Angeles, by yourself, on a private road that is lined from start to finish with arcades, movie theaters, shopping malls, liquor stores, and cozy libraries with comfortable couches.  Also, there’s a limousine following you every step of the way, ready to take you home in an instant if you decide to quit.

The start is easy: you’re full of energy and motivation, your friends and loved ones are seeing you off with fanfare, you know where you’re going and how to get there, and there’s spring in your step.

The end is easy, too.  Once you get past the 3/4 point of your run, you get all excited about getting close to the finish line, and it’s all downhill from there.  That’s when you get your second wind.

The middle is the sucky part.  That’s when you’re running through the narrative equivalent of Idaho or central Ohio.  The rush from the start of your run has worn off, the finish is nowhere in sight, your feet are really starting to hurt, you only see endless fields of corn and the long road ahead, and the blinking attractions by the side of the road look more tempting to you than ever.

You know that just two hours of running a day will get you to L.A. in six months.  It’s entirely up to you how to manage the run.  You can run for ten minutes one day, and then goof off in the arcade or at the movies, and nobody’s going to mind.  You can even skip entire days, or weeks, or months, and level up your paladin in World of Warcraft while sitting on your ass for three months in West Wendover, Nevada.  At any point, you can say “screw this”, and get into that limousine for the ride home, and there will be no penalty.

Anyone who makes that run once a year voluntarily is certifiably insane, even when you don’t consider that most who do earn an hourly paycheck for the run that makes minimum wage look like a fortune.

But you know what?  When you cross that finish line, it feels pretty damn good indeed.

16 thoughts on “and now, some rare and enlightening insight into the writing mind.

  1. anonymous says:

    Don’t know about insight into the writer’s *mind*, but that little blurb sure as hell gives a palpable presence and dimension to the writing *process*, with a beginning middle, and end all its own.

    And speaking of end, should we take this to mean something more? Are champagne corks in danger of popping as to a more lengthy project?

    Al Terego

    • Marko Kloos says:

      Not yet. With the current novel, I’m somewhere in Colorado. But it’s a smooth run, and I’m not too tempted by the roadside attractions.

  2. MarkHB says:

    *grins*

    Nice one, compadre.

  3. Brian J. says:

    Is revision the second part of the Iron Man triathlon, where you swim to Australia?

  4. Robert says:

    “You can even skip entire days, or weeks, or months, and level up your paladin in World of Warcraft while sitting on your ass for three months in West Wendover, Nevada. “

    Why would anyone want to do that? West Wendover is a boil on the border of Nevada. We’d give them to Utah, but the Mormons are uptight about the casinos there…well, when they aren’t busy making full use of their facilities, anyway.

    • kneil says:

      You know what they say: the most important thing to bring when you go fishing with a Mormon is another Mormon, or the singleton will drink all your beer.

  5. lenf says:

    Marko, Find yourself a copy of “For Authors Only”, Kenneth Roberts, Doubleday-Doran* (*I think).
    If you can’t find a copy I will send you mine. And you should read all of his work anyway. But that’s a discussion for another time.
    Len

  6. Joanna says:

    FWIW, I get less writing done reading books about writing than I do just reading books, period. Kind of like how working on the shocks all day won’t get you to the grocery store the way actually driving will.

    Don’t forget the part where you waste time trying to shoot out the tires on the limousine (also known as “just a couple prompts to get the juices flowing”).

    • lenf says:

      It’s not a book about writing, it’s a book about “arcades, movie theaters, shopping malls, liquor stores, and cozy libraries with comfortable couches”, and it was written in the late 30’s (I think) by an irascible and prolific writer. You should see his rant on the Pulitzer prize.

  7. […] is hard.  Not the “maffs is hard” hard, the “why the blazes am I doing this” hard.  Heck, some bloggers even stay up late at night watching humorous animated shows.  […]

  8. correia45 says:

    And then after you’ve made your first couple of runs, you get a sponsor. Then the sponsor wants you to run again, and it has to be as good or better than the last run, and it needs to be finished by June.

    And if you’re really lucky, your sponsor will commission you to run twice a year for the next two years, but that rules out the comfy couches and movie theaters.

    However, once you’ve completed the run, and everyone has seen your run and most people enjoyed your last run, there will be random critics who give your run one star on Amazon. Running critics have never actually run anywhere themselves, but they will quickly point out where your run sucks.

    On the plus side, once you are known as a successful runner, then you get to write off all your running related expenses, like going to RunCon, where you can mingle with all the running fans.

    • Tam says:

      Running critics have never actually run anywhere themselves, but they will quickly point out where your run sucks.

      Does this mean only chefs can decide whether they liked the food or not?😉

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