My apologies for leaving you hanging, I’ve been away for a while and I owe you an explanation.

Just to put it right out there, I haven’t been writing much. Not here, not on the novel, not on anything (except my day job of course). I’ve got 20 pages since my last post, which is something at least. And no, it didn’t take me four months just to get those 20 pages.

I wish I could say I’ve been “taking a break,” but that would imply a summer spent relaxing. Far from it. I’ve not been idle, mind you; been plenty busy in that time. But admittedly I’ve been away from my story for too long and it’s time to start regrouping.

Truth is, I’m stuck. I’ve been stumbling on one of my main characters and how the story relates to him. One primary character’s arc and story have come into focus nicely. I can see his path points well and was using them to pull myself along for a while. But my second character is just as, if not more, important and his development and plot points have remained blurry and elusive.

As a result, the relationship I worked so hard to establish leading up to the 1/3 mark (back in January, ugh!) lacks half of its density. It feels one-sided, perhaps even unrealistic now. Until I can better clarify the one character, his story, and arc, I fear the relationship and the other character appears hollow, unengaging. So I’ve been stuck; been there for months now, which makes it really hard to move forward.

Adding to my pusillanimity, I’ve had so many other worthy, important tasks in the queue (homeowner stuff, friend and family visits, travel) that I’ve been all too happy to let them distract me from writing, thereby facing my obstacles, for much of the summer.

My sticking points are big enough that I want to avoid them and concentrate on the pile of other tasks, responsibilities, pleasures, and obligations that invariably spring up. The pile of other stuff is so available, rewarding, and seemingly important, it is all too easy to use it to avoid concentrating on those sticking points.

It’s a vicious cycle for sure, and it’s time to acknowledge that and start working on the story again, problems or no.

A year ago, charged and empowered after my visit to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, I had set an aggressive-yet-confident goal to have a draft in time for my 40th birthday, which by the way arrives, warranted-or-not, next week. Obviously, that’s not going to happen, not without a Rocky-like* comeback and an intravenous feed of espresso for the next six days.

I’ll just have to let that arbitrary, perhaps unrealistic deadline pass by and appreciate this process for what it is…a journey, and not a destination. At least I’ll keep telling myself that in hopes of one day believing it.

Climbing back on this horse is going to take some heaving. But I’ll get up there again.

Write on.


* Stallone wrote “Rocky” in two and a half days. Surely a Pulitzer-worthy novel can be cranked out in a week, right?