I sat down a few days ago and began to write. I wrote and wrote and wrote. The words flew from my mind faster than I could get them down. Before I knew what had happened I’d committed six thousand words to manuscript. And I was happy with all of them.
The next day I sat down again and nothing happened. I read back over the chapters I’d penned the previous day. They still read well but it felt as though someone else had written them. I was unable to understand what had changed. Had something gone wrong?
A few days ago I wriggled into a pair of Vibram FiveFingers shoes. I’m not going to bang on about them except to say that they allow you to walk, run, climb and scramble to all intents and purposes barefoot, without having to worry about broken glass and sharp rocks and street grime. I love going barefoot, so the minimal, utilitarian design sounded rather appealing.
So I went for a twenty-five minute test-run. This would usually be no big deal, and it felt fantastic to be in touch with the ground beneath my feet as I ran.
The next day I was unable to walk. My calves had seemingly decided to replace themselves with large hunks of red-hot iron. I couldn’t believe that I’d managed to dart about the empty streets of early-morning Yerevan for half an hour the previous day. Now I could barely hobble to the bathroom.
The point is that eagerness to try something new can be quickly tempered by the unforseen realities of doing it. I was incredibly enthusiastic to write this book, and I still am, just as I am still eager to make a transition to barefoot running. It feels like the natural thing to do, and I’m willing to trust my gut (and legs) on these two things.
But I can see now that the process is going to take time and dedication, for writing a fully-formed book is going to take a lot more than just ploughing through the word-count until done. Somehow the crafting process will have to work simultaneously at the level of the book and of the individual word.
I guess that the best I can do for now is to plug away at writing the story elements, and hope that I can remain objective while looking later on at the overall message, with the ruthless eye of an editor.