How’s the Book Going: p. 249

This morning I focused on another romance project I’m collaborating on with a friend: a romantic comedy screenplay about two very hurt people who meet each other at (what they believe is) the wrong time in their lives. Fate continues to intervene, however, bringing them together over and over. In the end, they realize it wasn’t really fate that pushed them together; there were coincidences, but mostly they’d chosen to keep finding each other because they fit. Writing with a partner is an exceptional challenge and an exceptional joy.

I came back to my novel pages drunk with delight, creative energy spent. Hence the tiny two-page jump today. But I would like to note that I continued to write even when I didn’t feel like it. I managed to immerse myself even when I thought there’d be no way I could plop out a single shitty word. (Ew.)

This is notable because here I am at 4:26, when I usually stop at 2:00 or 3:00. This is also notable because, in a wave of panicked impatience and newfangled honesty, I emailed my editor to tell her how truly behind I was, offering a new date. I’m sure she’s come to expect this by now, so I don’t feel too strung out about it. I used to cower under the weight of these emails, agonize over every word, try to paint the truth with vague euphemisms and half-baked justifications and empty promises. Now, having been an English teacher and on the receiving end of such deadline-missing, hot-aired self-flagellation, I know it’s much better to simply state the facts, apologize once, and thank them for their patience. There’s also really only so much I can do without breaking my brain. I am good at my job; I know that, and they know that. They have to trust that I will get it done, and I always do.

Anywho, these four or five-hour writing days might have to turn into seven or eight-hour days in order to actually finish this book on the newly-stated date. I don’t know if that will be physically possible. Those of you who are not fiction writers: imagine the awkwardness that happens when you tell someone about a dream you had, but you can’t quite convey it exactly right. Writing fiction is as if the person listening implores you to tell it better, with exactly the right words, so they can picture it more vividly. So, you’re telling this listener your dreams as accurately as you can, and yet they don’t say anything back to you as you speak, or give any indication that they’re listening anymore, so you don’t know whether the dream is interesting to the listener or even making sense. Eventually, you’re just sitting there alone all day, for hours, finding the right words to illustrate how the dream people in your head talk and do things, not sure what their significance will be to anyone else, even to you.

When I put it like that, it sounds excruciating, and it often is. And yet, it is all I ever want to do with my life. That is How’s the Book Going.


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