The Black Moment

I can’t speak for other writers on this one (in fact, I don’t think I can ever speak for other writers) but especially when it comes to this sensitive topic, I will say I’m speaking about my own writing (but I don’t think I’m alone.)

Every book I write has a Black Moment. But I’m not talking about the Black Moment related to conflict and plot. I’m not referring to the moment where the hero or heroine thinks all is lost. I’m referring to me, the writer, staring blankly at the computer thinking, its over. Done. Wrecked. Or driving carpool in a state of numb exhaustion and wondering how I’ll ever recover from this failure. Or screaming at the gods of the universe because I’ve just one day before the book is due and its the worst thing I’ve ever written and completely unsalvageable.

Yes. That’s the Black Moment. And guess what? Every book I write has one. Every #$%@ book. Even the sneaky easy ones.

Why? Why does writing have to be so wretched sometimes? Why does the process have to hurt? Just weeks ago I was floating around on a cloud with my feet on a cloud pillow counting my cloud blessings. And now I’m weeping (metaphorically) because everything I write is horrible and I can’t figure out how to write wonderful and the fact that I’ve an editor tapping her nails on her desk waiting for the book isn’t helping.

My editor is paying me for a good book, not a bad book.

My editor is expecting a story that makes sense.

My editor is anticipating a page turner not a barf bag.

This is the Black Moment. And it happens each and every time. Some times the Black Moment comes early, like on page 3 and I can’t believe I ever agreed to write this story. Other times its a chapter 6 issue and I don’t know what the hell I’m trying to say and I still have half the book to go. And some times I reach the end and go yuck, this isn’t the book I wanted to write at all. This isn’t the story I was trying to tell. This is just…words. Where’s the power? Where’s the conviction? Where’s the meaning?

Now every book can be fixed. And there’s always an editor to help with editing, but as a writer I want to be the one to nail it. I want to be the one to deliver an awesome book, on time and in great shape.

The Black Moment whispers to the writer that it ain’t gonna happen and can’t be done. The Black Moment makes the writer feel like a fraud. The Black Moment is excruciating and makes even my close friends run away and hide from me in abject terror. The Black Moment is ugly.

But…and this is the good news…the Black Moment gets resolved. The Black Moment is conquered and the demons get put to bed and the book gets finished and I can sleep easy. At least until the next book gets started.

Why write?

Honestly, there are times I wish I knew.

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