Today I am trying to get myself past the wall.
Distance runners call a certain point in their marathons "hitting the wall." It's the point where they feel like they can't even put one foot in front of the other. A friend of mine ran her first marathon a year or so ago. She said when she got to that point she was on a slope, the hill seeming too steep to even consider continuing along. She was crying and shaking and convinced she needed to quit. A stronger runner (her husband's sister) slowed down and came up alongside her and helped her keep moving. The encouragement and the strength of her sister in law helped her push through the wall, and my friend continued and even finished the race.
For the past couple of years I have been immersed in family concerns. First and foremost in my life I'm a mother and a wife. I love to write, but I have to always keep in mind it's not my true legacy in life. When you write fluff like cotton candy, you have to be realistic and self-aware that way.
That has made seeing a novel through to completion ... let's say, difficult. Coming up with the concept, throwing down 175 pages or so, getting through to the beginning of the third act when all the forces of the plot need to converge on the main character, that's the fun part for me. But the beginning of the third act of any novel I write seems to be my "wall."
At the beginning of 2010 I set myself a New Year's Resolution. This year I would get past the wall. I would finish the novel I'm working on, I would go past the 3/4 mark and tie up the loose story lines, I'd let the hero and/or heroine get their just desserts, I'd give the villain what he or she had coming. I'd let my story people get their happily ever after.
It's just mean to them not to finish.
So today, I sent my kiddos in the other room and asked them to please play--because today I am finishing up the final chapter of this novel. I am. I WILL. Having this goal for myself and remembering it, referring to it, is kind of like the friend I needed along the way--to encourage me to keep plodding. That, and writers from my awesome writing group ANWA who give me feedback and encouragement along the way. My husband helps too. Bless him.
This novel may not be a masterpiece. I am writing it to teach myself several skills--what better place to practice them? However, finishing the story for me is going to be a big accomplishment and a great big feeling.
And then, I'm going to take myself down to the little grocery store and buy myself a bag of red licorice laces. Because a sweet feeling just gets sweeter with candy in hand.