I got half way in the (possibly, hopefully) final draft of my debut novel. I set myself up at Barriques in Middleton last night again, where one other writer joined me to write. My manuscript is 400 pages long. So, around 7:45 last night I reached my half way point. Did you feel some shift in your world around that time? No?
It’s good to mark such places in our writing and life though — feel some sense of accomplishment. Of course, there’s those coming 200 pages I have to rewrite my way through, and make captivating as I do.
This too is like life (well, mine anyway). Likely I am half way through other pivotal points in my life, I just don’t know it. I can see where I have come; and on my good days I know where I am. Then there are those days ahead, that I haven’t written yet, that call to me. My first Buddhist teacher reminded us when half-way through a 10 day silent retreat that: the shit hits the fan mid-way. Well, he didn’t quite put it that way. However, evidence points to how pivotal the half way point is in retreats, commitments, writing and groups. There is a critical, mid-way point where deal breakers arise. Projects and commitments may be abandoned. Deal breakers show up as questions: Just how committed am I to this idea? Has this been successful to this point? What is the point? What does it mean to move forward in my life? Is this project, idea, commitment worth my energy? What old habits are rearing their hold on me to give up?
We have to make a choice. Choose to write onward, or not.
I find that part of the half way tension is that people want to be finished and onto the next great project. (Like the new boy in town syndrome). But, hey, we can’t rush life or writing; that is, if we want to end up with a (really) good story. Then there’s another paradox here too: we don’t want to experience “endings,” so we often abandon them before they “end.” (This is the, “I’m going to abandon you before you abandon me” syndrome). Crazy, huh!? Human, hell yes.
So, here’s to our mid-points! And the creative work it took to get here, and let’s not forget the patience, perseverance, and tenacity. “Here” is where we are, but there are (if we are so blessed) those pages and days ahead of us.
If we can allow for the half way point to hold both its blessing and curse, we will reap the rewards of all that went into to getting us here.
My daughter is heading off to her internship in Minneapolis for the summer. Here is the advice I want to give her: When you encounter difficulties focus on your part in it and take responsibility for your experience. This will give you the power to change what you can. When you encounter successes, identify and give thanks to those who helped you with this. Celebrate your accomplishments with others. This will build your confidence and true community.
So, my dear reader and writers you are part of my true community. Whether you know it or not, you hold me accountable to my claims that I will finish this novel. So, I thank you and celebrate this present day accomplishment with you. And to the challenge of staying with my novel I share Neil Gaiman’s wisdom (or threat, depending on your view): “Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.”
See you there, just, don’t wait up for me.
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