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Brick Walls and Dirty Socks

So I mentioned the other day how I was at that mid-novel point where I am waning and am having a really hard time getting over this hump. This is my M.O. I start out all gangbuster, write like a crazy person, forget to eat, live in my book for weeks at a time, then I come up for air and a PB&J sandwich and realize I am halfway there….and freeze.

It’s like dating. That first date you are giddy and nervous and everything is new and exciting. You anticipate that first kiss and when it happens, you sparkle like SM’s vampires (Okay couldn’t resist that, hehe) but really, its all about the discovery, right.

At the halfway point, maybe he’s sleeping over a few nights a week. Leaving dirty socks on the floor, the toilet seat up, and snoring so loud the neighbors are shooting you dirty looks when you tip toe out to grab the paper. You wonder if you can see it through. If it’s worth it to plow forward. Is there is really man-gold at the end of this dark tunnel?

This is where am. The dreaded middle of my WIP. Trying to decide if this relationship with my characters is worth seeing through. Can I live with the dirty socks and snoring? Can I finish this book and make it into something that can sell? That someone else will want? I go back and reread, do some cleaning up and editing, ie, pick up dirty socks and put the toilet seat down for the bazillionth time.

And then something magical happens. I start getting excited. I read what I wrote and realize it’s pretty good. It’s got depth and life and I am enjoying actually reading it. Suddenly I’m being served breakfast in bed while getting a foot massage. I don’t have to do my hair or put on make-up to impress him. It’s comfortable, but there is still that air of discovery. Of wondering what the next page holds. I have to see it through so I know what happens.

So I sit back down, the words start to flow again, I get enthusiastic about my book again, and before I know it, the thing is complete and I can sit back, smile, look around at my dirty house and think about doing it all over again.

Why? Craziness maybe. Or it could be that new date thrill that comes with every new start. Every new idea. It’s a weird sort of writer’s crack.

What keeps you going? Why do you do it when it’s so easy to throw in the towel and swear off dating for life?
Lee Bross

Lee lives her happily ever after on the coast of Maine where she has written Tangled Webs, her historical YA debut, and fantasy YA books Fates and Chaos under pen name Lanie Bross. She also writes contemporary books for New Adult under the name L.E. Bross, debuting with Right Where You Are.

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  1. The love of writing. It gets me through the rough patches when all I want to do is hit delete and forget all about my desire to be a writer. It's the good days when I can't stop writing because I'm loving it too much. The days I procrastinate homework because I'm writing so well.

    It's like when you have a fight with your boyfriend. Why sacrifice all the fun you have because you had one fight?

  2. ha, I am right at the "awkward stage" in my WIP. Toilet seat is definitely up. Great analogy.

  3. Oh, I'm at the beautiful beginning. Love it love it love it. Not a dirty sock in sight...yet.

    Fantastic post, Lee! Thanks!

  4. I do it because if I don't get the words out of my head, it'll explode. I have to write. Simple as that.

  5. Ha! I'm the same way. Obsessed in the beginning, and then burnout half-way through. Awesome post, Lee.

  6. Awesome analogy. I definitely always feel that way in the middle, but the fact that I start to feel itchy if I go too many days without writing or revising keeps me going. Or if I think about scenes toward the end that I'm excited about, but don't let myself write them (or let myself write a little piece--sometimes I cheat hehe) so that I have something to look forward to. I can haul my ass through the middle, that's what editing's for, right?

  7. If I'm far enough in the book, it just becomes a matter of stubbornness. Despite the fact that I'm feeling grumpy toward the WIP at the moment, I KNOW it doesn't stink, and I KNOW it has potential, and I KNOW that if all else fails, I can clean it up in revisions. But once I pass about the 15k point, I refuse to quit. :)

  8. Yes, a post after my own heart. I love writing beginnings. I love writing ends. Once those are done I find myself staring at the middle, gnashing my teeth over bringing the two together. But it does happen and I love that point at which I hold (figuratively) the complete work in my hands. Nice post, Lee!


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Item Reviewed: Brick Walls and Dirty Socks Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lee Bross