• Adam Cook

The Marathon

I woke up this morning to snow on the ground, which made the Vermonter in me smile from ear to ear. I used to hate snow, since Vermont gets oh-so-much. It's not fun to deal with, especially since most businesses in Vermont will still open, and you have to know how to cope with that. It's a fact of life. You live, you learn, you move on with your day.

Thankfully, in my current day-to-day call center job, I'm working from home. It's something that I appreciate, especially when I look out the window and see snow on the ground, because that means I don't have to worry about shoveling, brushing off my car, and then driving the commute to work. I can do it. I don't like it, but I can do it.

Usually, Saturdays are my editing day. This isn't an 'in-depth make it perfect' editing that comes after I finish the first draft, but rather my effort to clean it up so that my copy reads clean. Yesterday, that didn't happen, so I did it this morning. I've completed five chapters of my novel thus far. At the pace I'm going, about 2500 words a week (or one full chapter), I expect to have the first draft of my novel completed by late June. And that, friends, leads me to today's caffeine-induced ramblings: the marathon of the middle. What this essentially means is the struggle authors face to put words to paper. Usually, the first couple chapters turn out great, and you get almost an adrenaline high from writing. Chapter three is when you first start feeling the effects of the marathon of the middle, and it can really weigh on you. For me, when I write, I have little ideas of where I want chapters to go. I outline to an extent, but I find that in the back of my mind, I don't like writing those exact road maps. They distract me. The fun part of being a 'pantser', or rather, writing by the seat of my pants, is that I get to find out the story as I go along. If you asked me what happens in chapter six, the chapter I'll be working on this week, I can tell you three points of what I intend to happen, but it doesn't necessarily happen that way when I set words down. And that's okay. I recognize that I don't like full, complete outlines. I'm okay with that. If you're like me and trying to create your first novel, but struggle to stick to outlines religiously, I suggest you write down your basic idea of what you want to happen so you don't get distracted, but then free yourself to let the story take you where it's going to. It doesn't work for everyone, but it works for me. Until next week! Much love, AJC

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