The Final Stretch

In this Groundhog Day winter, where every cold and snowy Illinois day begins to feel the same, it's nice to have productive mornings. And it again proves the journey that every writer takes when they're working on a book. 

I'm not sure how it goes with writing a work of nonfiction, but when you're working on a novel, the middle section is the hardest. The middle is where the story can sag, where inspiration starts to simmer down, where boredom sets in. This has been confirmed by so many novelists I've known over the years. This is where writing really feels like work. You're building, building, but it seems like you're not getting anywhere. But then you enter the final stretch. 

That's what's happened to me on this latest project I'm working on. I've set a deadline (self-imposed, which is always more difficult) to finish the first draft by the end of the month. I've got a target word count that I'm shooting for, and my target word count each day is usually around 2,000 words. Today, I hit that mark easily by ten a.m. Sometimes ten a.m. rolls around and I'm staring out my window watching the snow fall wondering how to make this story remotely unique and interesting. 

But in the final stretch, just like with any story, tensions are rising and the climax is coming and the story gets better and better. And I'm eagerly awaiting writing the final few chapters. I always love this. I know how those final chapters are going to play out--this comes from working on the story over a long period of time and comes from working in those middle trenches. Near the end is going to be when everything is lost. And then--the end comes. 

I think many writers working on a novel for the first time either get stuck or stop all together when they get to that middle section. It's difficult. Keep the end in mind. Every story you've finished reading or watching that ends with a bang--with a rush of emotion--with a "I didn't see that coming!" sensation--that's what you need to keep in mind when you're writing and when you look outside and see the BLAH of winter beating you down.