Your book is taking a long time to write

IMG_2699Your book is taking a long time to write. You see updates on social media about the release of other books, and you get a racing hopeless feeling inside, as if your little book with its million little legs were trying to climb up a mudslide. You have been through this draft so many times. You have been asked how many drafts it takes you to write a book, and you want to say that the answer is really the number of times you thought you were finished, plus one. You thought you were close to the edge and then you found more swamps to wade through, more slack sentences to tighten, more times where you listened to yourself sounding not quite like yourself but instead like a recording of yourself if you had been selling something in a commercial. You have tried to sell versions of yourself in the pages of this book, and it seems as though you have to write a book to slowly peel your fingers away from the version of yourself you started writing the book to defend. You open the file of the draft, which is now named with the book’s fourth or fifth title, which is sometimes named “final” or “new final” or “newest” or appended with a number like 6 or 8. You scroll through the text, sometimes with a clear starting point in mind, sometimes aimlessly wandering until your eye catches on a loose phrase. You despair of the book ever being done. You will be done when it is done. You are in a good place, this living inside this book. You have hollowed out a place to live in this book like a dog has circled and circled in the tall grass before laying down to rest. You have hollowed out a nest in these words that fits you almost perfectly, and when it is perfect you will give it to others to see if it cushions their bodies and shapes their dreams. You are buffeted by the pressures of sales figures and best-of-year lists and everything about buy-it-now America into thinking the chance for everything is slipping away, but that is not the case. You are dragging your fingers slowly in the water with this book as the canoe of your instinct skimming across the surface. You will get there when it is right. You have done it before, and each time along the way you have encountered similar moments of no-hope in the middle of other books. You know that the place of no-hope in the middle of the book, or maybe toward the end, is the same as every writer who has ever tried to cast out their ship into the void.

10 thoughts on “Your book is taking a long time to write

  1. John Needham (@JohnNeedham7) says:

    I take it one step past this because I have reached the point of tears in my last book. Now I have reached new heights of Zen that evolved me to know that all of this will get done when it gets done…that is if I want it to be a full representation of me.

    Like

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