At 4pm on March 11th, 2015, a Wednesday, I finished writing the 199th chapter of the first draft of what I call Book 3 (it hasn’t got a title yet). On the page, I wrote the time and date because I had reached a milestone. Two hundred chapters and only a few more to go before the end of the book. I had been on a roll. I had just written several pages in a single sitting. I had done more work on Book 3 that week than I’d done in any other week for the past two years. Things were going great.

I started Chapter 200 with printed words, neat and new. But I was burnt out and I had other work to do for school so after only writing a sentence, I put it down for the day.

The next time I picked it up, I re-read that sentence and crossed it out with the fluff of a cloud. I didn’t have much time, but writing anything was better than nothing. So I started again and wrote two and a half sentences of messy, hurried print before crossing that out, too. Maybe later, when I wasn’t rushing myself.

The next time I picked it up, it was serious. I had my game face on. I was in the zone. I put my pen to paper and wrote. The words came quick and I marked the paper with the kind of cursive that comes when you don’t pay attention to how you hold your pen. One, two, three sentences! I was nearing the end of a fourth sentence when I got frustrated with my pen, which was just a regular black ballpoint pen, nothing special at all. It was such a boring pen. Pens as boring as those don’t deserve to be writing a Chapter 200. I went and got another pen. The only other pen I had was a blue ballpoint pen. I finished the fourth sentence. I gave up. I’d wait until I had a more interesting pen.

The next time I picked it up, I had an expensive blue pen with flow-y ink that was supposedly waterproof, not that I’ve ever tested it. I used it to draw a hurricane over the boring black ballpoint and tried again. One line came, slow and forced. The ink flowed well but the words did not. Another line appeared with letters that hated each other. The ‘h’s didn’t have their usual curl, the ‘r’s were in pain, the ‘e’s were unhappy, and only half the ‘i’s were dotted. I tried so hard that I didn’t admit it wasn’t working until half-way into the third sentence. I didn’t bother finishing it.

The next time I picked it up, I put the blue letters out of their misery with the teeth of a saw drawn in black with a ballpoint pen.

At 4pm on March 11th, 2015, a Wednesday, I reached Chapter 200. I knew how the story would end. I didn’t have far to go. That’s what I thought. It’s been over five weeks.

Writing is hard.


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