The muddy middle and why to bake a cake

I’ve reached the middle of the book.  The muddy, muddled, mucking-about middle.   I’m not particularly cheerful. (This is the point where I will start making drama in the world to save me from trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing with the book.)  What I know, after doing this so many times, is that this is a normal stage, if not a particularly pleasant one.

That flashy, dazzling, Venus flytrap of the beginning is a long way back there now.  And the giddy, shaky pleasure/relief of the end is still way, way ahead.  There is just now, slogging away, trying to believe that it will be a book.

This is hard on writers, and it’s hard to explain to others how it feels to be a creative person in progress. There’s no product, and there won’t be for a long time. 

So, last night, I baked a chocolate torte from scratch.  Five simple ingredients. Many satisfying steps.  Really excellent cake, which I’m trying to ignore.

The small goals of running a little longer each each week, of actually going to my yoga class every Tuesday and not just doing some work at home, also help me get through this stage. The massage therapist asked me if I was shoveling a lot of snow, which made me feel buff.

And artist dates.  Just getting out and breathing air is good.  Hikes feel like an accomplishment, but everything is still very icy, and promises to be worse after this weekend.

And well…a blog is a finished thing, too.   

Now, off to the muddy middle…..

5 thoughts on “The muddy middle and why to bake a cake

  1. Boy, can I relate, Barbara. Years ago, some friends pointed out to me that around page 200 of a manuscript, I start wringing my hands and muttering, “I don’t have enough story. I’ll never finish this book. I don’t have enough story.” I realized they were right. I did that with every book. For some reason, knowing that it’s a pattern and that I have managed to finish every book, despite not having “enough story,” makes it easier to press on. But a chocolate torte sounds good too. Robin

  2. Hmm…muddy middle/chocolate torte. Wonder if that’s psychologically significant. You could begin to associate the muddy middle with the yummy muddy middle of a chocolate torte and consider it your opportunity to write rich, delicious, deep, savory things there. 🙂

  3. LOL, Julie! I like that. The middle is chocolate. Ah-ha!

  4. I’m right with you on writing middles. It’s good to know I’m not alone. I must admit baking a torte from scratch sounds like a good way to get a sense of completion. Of course, eating the torte sounds like an even better way to get through the middle muddle! Good luck!

  5. Oh, Barbara, I so hate the muddy middles! Gosh, they’re pure torture. You have my sympathies and empathy as well.

    I’m actually racing toward the end on mine. But there’s always the next deadline, and yet another middle waiting ahead like a pool of quicksand with a leering “come hither” grin.

    The bastards. =)


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