The Glory and Agony of Writing

The novel that I’m uploading to Wattpad, Miles Apart, has been a work in progress for the past 11 years. I’ve had a lot of stops and starts with it, I’ve tried a lot of different plot devices, changed the point of view several times (and changed it back), and have had a mess of a time coming up with an ending.

Many times I’ve been told to just move on from it, but it’s not that easy. Even when I want to write something different, even when I have, this story keeps forcing itself to the forefront of my mind. I can’t ignore it. I have to see it through to the end. Nothing else will work.

IMG_6767
How I often feel about my writing

This story came to me at a time when I wasn’t sure I was able to write anymore, when I wasn’t sure I had anything to say. I had just graduated college with a degree in youth ministry, which I no longer wanted to pursue as a career and was trying my hand at writing again, for the first time in a long while. I was scared and excited. One day, while at home that summer, in between travels, the thought, “What would I do if my ex-boyfriend showed up at my door?” came into mind. And that sparked the flame.

Miles Apart cover

The middle part of chapter 12 and this whole chapter 13 are the fruit of that train of thought. Though Miles Apart has undergone so many changes in this 11 years, this chapter has always remained the same. It is the pivot-point of my entire story; it is what my characters hinge on. It is also my favorite chapter. It is short in words but long in meaning. This is the make or break point for Sid and Donnie.

It was getting to this point in my own life story and then moving past it that finally allowed me to have the inspiration to finish this novel. Although I am still tweaking it, the basic plot and characters and circumstances will remain the same. I can finally bring this story to conclusion.

flannery oconnor quote writer problem

So read Chapter 13! Tell me what you think! Rip me to shreds! (I can take it). Shower me with praise! Whatever you do, enjoy what I have written and leave me some words to reflect on. And if you’re struggling to make your passions ignite or your words to pour out, know that you’re doing well; agony is part of the writing process, so embrace it.

“Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I’m always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system.”

– The incomparable Flannery O’Connor

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