I didn't know where the book was going, had many difficult scenes ahead & research to do. But there was no way out. Luckily, it’s summer—no teaching—but the usual life dramas & family situations. Knowing I couldn’t do it, I dove in—and did it. I sent off the completed manuscript yesterday. I’m still dazed, wondering how I did the impossible.
It sounds absurdly simple, but looking back, I realize what I did was make the impossible possible. Every morning I sat down to write and went to the maximum of what I usually do. Then I got up, stretched, and returned to do more.
Like an athlete training for a marathon, I pushed my mind, heart and body to its utmost—and beyond. I used every trick I know to keep myself focused and engaged in the work. Music, coffee, snacks, walking and stretching. I managed two 16-hour days, but the average was 12–14 hours. I took off one day a week. By that I mean I wrote only four hours that day. By Week Two, I was in the groove. I couldn’t stop if you made me. And I discovered three great gifts that came with writing in total immersion:
- You LIVE the book. There’s no struggle to get into the zone. The instant you start, you’re in. Every morning you return home, to the world you’ve created, & everything you do throughout the day, relates back to the story and characters. The whole world conspires in helping you develop this story that needs to be told.
- No time to indulge in that sabotaging killer, self-doubt—this book sucks, no one will read it, why bother? No time to waste on that—you have a job to do.
- You write in layers. Each day builds on the previous one—enriching & deepening your world with details that can only emerge from your subconscious when you are there.
How do I feel the morning after? Grateful, amazed. Blinking at the world: it’s still here & it’s still summer! Ready to relax my muscles, and then return to revise. But I learned a valuable lesson—I don’t know what my limits are anymore. And I don’t know the meaning of the word impossible.