I’ve come up with an analogy for what writing this book feels like. (Warning: weird metaphor ahead.)
Say you’ve been going to the gym for some months, maybe a year, and lifting weights faithfully. And the numbers have gone up, sure, but what does that mean? Then one day you find yourself messing around with a friend, and the two of you get into a wrestling match, and you’re gasping and snarling and trying to get a good grip so you can exert some leverage and damn it’s hard — but then halfway through you realize that a year ago, this friend would have had you face-down on the floor crying uncle in about four seconds flat. And maybe all that weightlifting really has done something.
I don’t think what I have so far is brilliant, but I also know what’s what revision is for. I think I’m getting my foundations in more or less the right place, and that means bringing things up to code won’t be too tough. Sure, for the first time in my life I find myself routinely writing three hundred words and then ripping them right back out again, that very night, to start the scene over from scratch — I’ve written fully 15% more than I have of actual book — but that isn’t defeat; that’s victory. That’s noticing my friend about to get me in a pin I won’t be able to escape, and squirming out of it before I can be trapped.
I’m stronger than I used to be.
(Though not physically. My puny self needs to get back to the gym.)