This one is actually easy for me as I immediately thought of the other thing that is occupying my time lately: running. Now let me start out by saying I am not a runner. I do not run for fun, I basically run so I can eat more. I am also not fast, nor can I go far. The one thing that is fun about running however, and I think any runner can agree to this, are the races. I have done two races so far - well really one race that I have done twice - The Disney Princess Half Marathon. Now, those of you who don't run, or maybe even some of you who do, might be saying, "Wow, half marathon?!" Yeah, considering I didn't train either time, and finished just at the required pace of 16 minutes per mile, walked the majority of it, and spent the next few days practically couch ridden, it's really not that impressive. However, I think that races are the perfect metaphor for writing a novel.
Allow me to explain...
Writing is like... running a marathon.(or the Disney Princess Half Marathon as the case may be)
You start out at the Race Expo, where there are hundreds of people, all excited for what's to come. You pick up your bib and goody bag, check out the booths, and buy t-shirts and memorabilia. You walk around with the race-bug and think, "This is so great, why didn't I do this years ago?" As writers this is the beginning of a new story. You just got the inspiration, and you have more excitement and energy than you know what to do with, but instead of t-shirts and goodies, you buy note books, pens, and other writing supplies. Cuz, you know, what else is going to make us feel ligit?
The next day, it's the morning of the race. You get up at four to be at the start line by 5:30, but the time doesn't matter as you are ready to get started. As you get to the race site, you see everyone else there having a great time, laughing, excited, and ready to go. There are people everywhere, some look like they are in great shape and can run circles around you, others are maybe not so in shape, and mean as it is you actually are happy to see them, as it make you feel just a little better about yourself. (Come on we all do it.) This is the writer in the planning phase: you have tons of ideas flying at you from every direction, some good, some not so good, but in the end you just can't wait to get started on that first chapter.
You get to your start corral near the start line, practically jumping up and down waiting for the gun to go off. Finally, the count down begins(you've put the kids to bed), the gun sounds(bust out all your notes), the fireworks go off(you fire up the computer), and you are off and running(writing).
You pass over the start line barely seeing it, adrenaline pumping and heart pounding. You look to the sides and see all the fans yelling and cheering you on and you think, "This isn't bad at all, I'll be done in no time!" You are pounding on, feet flying, never breaking stride(ideas flowing and dialog pouring like water). But then after a while, you start to look around and realize that the fans are gone, and won't be back until you hit the Magic Kindom spectator area later on, and it's kind of dark, and there is really nothing to look at, and you starting to get winded(plot holes, awkward or missing dialog that you're not sure how to fix, and characters that aren't quite panning out the way you thought they would).
More time passes and you are really getting tired. Your feet are starting to blister, your legs are getting tight, and you realize you should have eaten more this morning(Major plot hole that you can't seem to patch up, writer's block, and issues arising from insufficient planning). People start to pass you and you want to trip them out of frustration(not that I would ever do that, but come on you've thought about it). Your exhausted, your feet(fingers) are screaming at you to stop, but you can't stop because you are almost there. Then finally, you look up and see that blessed sign glowing in the distance like a beacon. You have made it. You pick up the pace and hold your head high as you finally pass the sign marking the end of mile(chapter)...
ONE! ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!!
SOMEHOW you carry on though the next 12.1 miles.
SOMEHOW you manage to push through the headaches, backaches, blisters, pulled muscles, sunburn, dehydration, and fatigue.
SOMEHOW you make it to the finish line and get your medal, and for a moment you are happy. Happy you finished. Happy to know you really can do it. But more than anything swearing up and down that you will never do it again.
Yet oddly enough, less than an hour later on the drive home, you hear a voice that sounds suspiciously like your own saying, "Next year will be better..."