I’m on Chapter Eleven. A little less than 100 pages in. Maybe a third of the way.
I’m sticking to my outline and I think I’m happy with how the story is taking shape (although I’m regularly hit with a feeling of total certainty that this may well be the most boring, flat, one-dimensional, pointless story every written).
I try to stay focused on the chapter at hand – better yet, the scene at hand – and not think too much about the enormity of the task ahead.
Like the marathon runner who thinks about getting to the next lamp post instead of the finish line, or the mountain climber who keeps their eye on the next hand hold and not the peak of the summit, I try my best not to think about how long it’s going to take me to finish this first draft, or how many more drafts I’ll have to do after that, or how long it will take me to write a query letter I’m happy with. I try not to dwell on the fact that even after I do all of that, I may never be able to interest an agent in my work and that, even if I do, I may never find a publisher who thinks it’s sellable.
These are the things I try not to think about. But I am very, very bad at not thinking about them.
I try to remind myself that all I can do is write the very best book I can and the only way I can do that is by keeping my mind on my characters and my story and forging ahead – one word at a time.
But on some days – like today – I find myself unable to see the next word because I’m too paralyzed by panic at the idea of running the next 26 miles up a mountain.