"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” –William Wordsworth
I’m having trouble with the book I’m writing. This isn’t news to anyone—I’ve been whining about it for weeks now. It’s better—I’ve at least had a few days with four-figure word counts, but not very many. I’m still not sure about how the book is going. Or if it will go at all. Occasionally I will read over an entire scene and wonder what on earth it’s doing there—it does nothing, not a single, solitary thing, to move the story forward. The other day, I entered an asterisk for a new scene and then typed VET SCENE TO BE WRITTEN LATER. MAYBE. and went on to the next chapter.
This happens to me with almost every book. It is called, in case you’re lucky enough to have forgotten, the sagging middle. Like during the composition of the synopsis and the back-cover blurb, I consider it my time in writer hell. Honesty compels me to admit my editor writes my back-cover blurbs. I don’t know if they all do, but he must understand my limitations. However, for the sagging middle and the synopsis, I am on my own.
It’s not pretty.
I write every day, but on Saturday and Sunday, I almost always work on something besides the WIP. Sometimes it’s what Holly Jacobs calls the Sunday book. Sometimes it’s promotional blog posts. Sometimes, like today, it’s the post for Word Wranglers. Occasionally, I get nothing written at all but do manage to lose many games of Solitaire and waste hours getting ticked off by Facebook.
Every now and then, the weekend work is writing verses in the bible of a book I’m going to write Someday. You know, the hero’s name and what he’s like and who his family is and why he happens to be there at the exact right time to meet the heroine. And then there’s her name and the story of her life and why she has the number 32 tattooed on the inside of her ankle.
It is those “every now and then” days, when a story comes to life in my scattered and sometimes frenetic notes that make the times of pathetic, muddy middles and horrible synopses worthwhile. It gives birth to aha moments, laughing aloud at what is for a tiny moment my own certain genius, and falling in love with the people who are introducing themselves to me. It’s when I know—are you reading this, Nan Reinhardt?—that I am indeed a writer. It's the time of the breathings of my heart.
So come on into the round corral and join us. Tell us about your aha moments—and your most horrible ones. We promise to celebrate and weep with you. We’ve all been there.