My Two Favorite Words

 A writer faces many hurdles before he or she finishes a book. For anyone who thinks writing full-length novels is fun, think again. Not to bellyache, but it’s no day at the beach. Of course, living in San Diego, I spend many days at the beach, but that’s a topic for a different post. The research, creating interesting characters, crafting a compelling plot, surprising the reader, maintaining dramatic tension—a writer faces all these challenges and more. There are so many issues to consider; so many ways to get tripped up. I admire prolific writers like Stephen King.  How writers like King continue to tap their creative juices to come up with new, refreshing ideas is beyond me.

Since 1993, I’ve written five novels, one of which is published and another will be published soon. And I’m here to tell you, I’m not sure how many more novels are in my future. Working 5 or 6 days a week, just as if you might at a traditional job, it takes about 6 or 7 months for me to write a novel.

There is no way for me to make anyone who is not a writer comprehend how it feels to complete a novel. In a sense, it’s like getting out of prison or having a heavy weight lifted from your shoulders. Don’t get me wrong. I’m really not complaining. I’m thankful that God gave me the raw seed of creative talent for me to write novels. But make no mistake about it; writing is a lonely job. It’s just you and the computer screen.  

I can’t tell you how many times I sat with my fingers poised above the keyboard, staring blankly at the computer screen, unable to put two meaningful sentences together. But on other days, those same fingers could barely keep up with my brain.

Where am I going with this? Only to say that a few days ago, after writing 110,000 words and 360 pages, I finished Resuscitation, and enjoyed the rare privilege of writing my two favorite words: The End. So what happens now? I get to rest my brain for about a week, then I dive right back in and perform a comprehensive edit. So in reality, The End is not really the end. My job as a writer is not done until I deliver a flawless manuscript to my agent and a potential publisher. So maybe, the next time I complete the first draft of a novel, instead of writing The End, I’ll write Almost There.


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