Fault Lines

I’m waiting for the little men with straight jackets.

The writing is sometimes close to mental torture. And I’ve hit that torture tonight. My head really hurts tonight and I think I’m starting to crack.

I’m down to five days before my book is due and every time I feel as though I’ve made progress I discover I’m not going in the right direction after all. And its not a little panic, but the kind that sucks your brain out through a hole in the top of your head and then discards you, leaving you hollow.

I feel–but please don’t tell my mom this–like I’m losing my mind.

And my writer friends have great words for this part of writing. One calls it write-fright, another calls it the black moment in the writing of the novel, another says its when she vows to never ever write another book again. For me, it’s just despair because I feel so useless. I’ve written myself into this corner and I’m angry that I wrote myself into a corner, frustrated that I didn’t see this coming, that my plot looked fine on paper, that the dialogue seemed perfect, that the pacing felt right…but obviously it’s not because the book isn’t hanging together. It’s not amazing. It’s not even great

In short, I’m upset that writing is so hard.

And it is hard.

And when it gets to this point where it is so hard, and I’m alone for hours–sometimes days straight–and I start talking to myself, pep talks, speeches, exhortations, prayers, bargaining…in the end, I just start thinking, ‘it’s too damn difficult. I can’t do this anymore.’ And the moment you say, it’s too difficult and you can’t do it…guess what?

You can’t.

And I know this. I know I can’t give in and I know I can’t admit defeat but I’m honestly genuinely tired and my brain hurts and my body hurts from sitting so much and I crave rest, crave pillows and my comforter and my bed but that won’t get the book done.

Bitter truth: I am the only one who can get the book done.

Even more bitter truth: I don’t want to get it done, not if it is this hard and hurts this much. I want to sit on the sofa and watch t.v. and be near someone I like and someone that likes me and NOT question my sanity. I want to relax and sleep straight for the night and not toss and turn because the book isn’t done.

I’ve realized I want to be a writer when the writing’s good. I like writing when I know what I’m doing. It’s just that when it goes south–I don’t always know why it’s gone bad. I don’t know where I lose the thread, or why the attempts to fix it don’t work. And that’s where the panic starts. And the fixing gets chaotic. And the fixing doesn’t always fix. And so the panic just builds. Racing against the clock and trying to be creative while fighting fear. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Tonight I feel like a disaster and its no one’s fault but my own.

I should have done more hard writing earlier. But I didn’t. Because the hard writing is hard.

And I get scared. What if I’m not able to pull it off this time? What if there’s no more story left? What if I never had the skill?

And here come the little men.

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