Marathon, mile 24.5

It’s Thursday, almost 10 am, and I have yet to get going this morning.  I’m tired and emotional and kind of lonely and it really does seem impossible that I should be able to finish this book. Ever.

The emotional angle is par. My theory is that I’m having to live for a bunch of people and going through all their stuff, and it’s intense.  Another reason it’s easier in a lot of ways for me to write the final stage of a book like this, in immersion mode. I’ll mail it and my editors will look at it, and we’ll go back through it, but it never feels like this, like I’m actually having to live other people’s lives.

DNF is not an option for a book, so even if I’m crawling over the finish line (and I usually am—have I said before that my process is not at all reasonable or sensible, no matter how badly I’d like it to be?), I will crawl over it. 

But not without a lot of whining.  I’m sick of being stuck at the computer with no companionship except pets (CR has gone to a conference).  I want to read and amble through my head and most of all—start the next book, which of course will be ever so much easier and more brilliant than this one.  My throat is scratchy from something in the air and probably also from drinking a couple of beers with my friend last night.  I hadn’t seen her in three weeks and I haven’t really had many conversations with other humans in awhile, and she called just when I was feeling overwhelmed and not at all ready to tackle another long session at the computer.  It was the right decision.  We sat on the patio of the restaurant through the long, cool dusk and finalized our dates for the hike up Pikes Peak (one week away) and we both were energized at finally setting at date. 

More on the hike when I finish the book.  Which I hate right this minute.  Luckily, I’ll think it’s utterly brilliant by the time I mail, just because it always feels so great to get it off my desk.  The truth is somewhere between.   None of us can see our work clearly (which is why there are editors—thank God).

I’ve fiddled around with many things this morning.  The cats. The dishes. The laundry.  I took a bath and took some photographs.  I made some coffee, but it’s not suiting me today so maybe I’ll switch to Pellegrino.  I have some jawbreakers to suck on as I work (it’s better than my old habit of smoking zillions of cigarettes on these marathons).  Everyone is assembled around a table and I don’t know what’s going to happen because they haven’t let me in on it.  I know it’s the culmination of a lot of things before and I also know that the only way to get it on the page is to drag my whiney self into my office and put on some Celtic music, because it energizes me, and get cracking.   

I’ll leave you with the photo of the week: why I love dahlias.
Dahliawater

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7 thoughts on “Marathon, mile 24.5

  1. Mel

    That is a gorgeous pic, I love flower photos. They just make you feel happy.

    Put on that music and write. I’m off to do the same.

  2. Gooooo Barbara! Another happy thought: Today I wrote three more pages of a novel I wouldn’t have started for years without your encouragement. I’ll keep pushing through the beginning, and you keep pushing through the end, OK?

    :)

  3. Barbara

    Thanks for the encouragment.

    Andrea, that really is a very happy thought. I love thinking of you writing your novel.

  4. Barbara

    Mel, you too. Are you at the end?

  5. Mel

    No : (
    I’m only a quarter through on my first long book so it feels like a looooong way to go. But 1 foot in front of the other and one page after the other. With suitable pauses to admire the flowers.

  6. It’s encouraging (and maybe scary! Heh.) to see that even an multi-published author can struggle with “the end.” I’ve got maybe 10 pages to go to finish my first novel, and it’s really tough right now.

    I feel like with “the end” comes big reponsibility–the reader may or may not come back to you depending on how well you handle it.

    I really enjoy your books. Please keep them coming!

  7. Barbara

    Mel, one foot in front of the other is exactly right.

    Julie, we all suffer at the end. It’s just so hard to hold it all in your head and try to hit all the right chords. Bravo to you for knowing that.

    And yes, I’ll keep writing. Thanks :)

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