Mary Novik, a brilliant writer, posted a comment on Baroque Explorations, my research blog, which moved me greatly today. She noted what I’d set out to do on July 2, and tracked my progress through to August 22. It was astonishing to see that history, frankly. In my response to Mary, I said (among other things):
“… when one is in the swamp of a novel, it begins to feel like quicksand. (I can’t remember who it was who said this, but it’s apropos: “Writing a short story is like having an affair. Writing a novel is like wading out to sea to drown.”)
I often think, these days, of the guideline put out by Anne Lamott that goes something like this: “God is in charge of quality. The writer is in charge of quantity.” My first drafts are very sloppy; I suspect the gods are napping.
I’m tempted to say that despair is simply part of the process, but that’s a bit bleak. The truth is, there is no greater joy.
P.S. Anne Lamott also claimed that writers lose weight while writing. As my page count goes up, however, my weigh-in numbers rise as well. Not fair!