Marathoning

At the Crusie/Mayer blog, HE writes:

Writing a novel is like running a marathon. I used to run those things back when I was younger. Actually ran Boston a couple of times. Anyway, you’re not going to finish a novel in a day. Or a couple of days. It’s a long haul.

I’m currently on mile 21, which Christopher Robin will tell you is about halfway.  This is when the book takes over my life, when I am not allowed to buy clothes because I’ll buy a pair of jeans in character, when I eat the oddest things (rye krisp with laughing cow cheese and red hots, which my son left behind). 

Somehow, even though I’ve now written a lot of novels, over a lot of years, I always forget that a book is a marathon. I forget how long it takes. How odd I am when I’m finishing. How much of my attention it demands.  Other things I forget:

–while I am a writer who needs a lot of brewing time (most books brew for a couple of years), the real magic of it happens on the page, when all the bits and pieces I’ve gathered up suddenly start to weave themselves into something.

–how exhilarating it is to get lost in that world, to go live there.  The feeling of falling into a book while you’re reading is the reason we all become book addicts.  Writing a book is like that, only more. It’s my own virtual reality.

–how physically demanding it is.  I have to exercise, hard, every day.  Bob mentions that, too. I’m not a bike person, but I have to run or take a serious yoga class or work with weights  or hike (I know, I know, I don’t look like I do all that, but I do–six times a week, every week).  I prefer going outside, breathing fresh air, but the basement works, too

–how much l like writing.  When the words go down in a fresh way, when I see a connection I didn’t see before, when a character becomes so much more than I saw in the beginning…..well, it’s just more fun than anything.  I want it to be that much fun all the time, but it isn’t.

–how exhausting it is.  At the end of this marathon, I’ll veg out completely.  Watch 20 movies. Read piles of novels that are nothing like the one I wrote.

Today, I’m working early because I want to have some time to go to the Parade of Homes with CR later.  Get some ideas (because my other passion is redecorating–it really is so much more immediate than a book!).

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