In The Dark

As I march toward finishing the first draft of my first novel, I feel like I am going through a dark tunnel. I can see the light, but I have no way of knowing what will be there when I get out on the other side. Will I have a decent first draft? Can I actually write a novel? 

I suppose I could say that I've been a writer my whole professional life. Or at least that writing has been a big part of what I get paid for. There's of course a lot more to being a journalist (the first part of my career) and a research analyst (the second part), than just writing. You have to be able to write, but you have to be able to do analysis, to figure out what's important and tell a story.

And so has my professional work helped prepare me to write books?

Yes, in many ways it has. I know the important of writing a first draft. Any sort of first draft, even a very bad one. Because you can't edit a blank page. I've received a lot of criticism and editing throughout my career. And I know that any work has become better because of it, never worse.

My work life has also prepared me to know the importance of telling a story and having something to say. Whether or not the stories I have to tell or what I have to say -- through the art of fiction -- is interesting to anyone else remains to be seen. But it's interesting to me, so I feel compelled to at least try.

I'm nearly on the last chapter, guys. I've written 2,591 words of Chapter 17, then there's just Chapter 18 to wrap the whole thing up. And then I'm going to have to read it to see if it even makes any sense.

That's the thing about writing a book. After you reach a certain number of words, you just can't stop and go back to see if it's working. I have no idea if the pacing is right, if the point of view works, if the characters are developed enough or if it's even interesting at all. I'm in a dark tunnel, blind to the result and just having to focus on the process. It's not so bad, but it's a little maddening for someone who is used to being able to re-read something I've written to see if it's not working. Because then I can fix it.

Speaking of which, in other news, I've finally been brave enough to get someone to edit my memoir (the one I wrote back in 2015). And she did a great job of coming up with some suggestions to fix that. Because it certainty doesn't work as is. So while the novel (book #2) rests and I get some distance from it, I will start edits on book #1, with the hope of getting it into a sort of shape to actually be published. So all of you dear readers can read it.

Watch this space.

Photo credit: OregonDOT Mosier Twin Tunnels via photopin (license)


  1. Replies
    1. What a long process... hopefully I won't keep you waiting TOO long!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! Claire has really inspired me to get moving!

  3. I love the metaphor of writing a novel as burrowing through a dark tunnel. Nice! So you're now seeing some light at the end?

    1. I think I can see the light! But for some strange reason this stage seems the longest in the process..


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