For so long on this book, it’s been two steps forward, one step back. Except for the times when it’s been three steps back. I’ve been working on it since June of 2012. Twice I tossed pretty much all of it and started again.

The original version opened with a house fire. It’s gone, the house is back and whole again, except that not a single scene takes place there. I don’t even want to think about how much time I wasted mapping out a floor plan for that house. There was a scene in a restaurant that I spent months writing. Literally, months. It no longer exists. There were characters who played major roles that no longer even show up, except for brief mentions while they’re offstage.

I’ve considered giving up multiple times, just throwing it away and moving on with my life. I’m not sure why I’ve stuck with it except that I could remember a time when writing was really fun. I knew that once upon a time, I finished scenes with little bursts of glee. Once upon a time, I loved my characters, I wanted them to be real and spending time with them brought me joy. Once upon a time, I closed my files at the end of the day with excitement about what I was going to write the next day. I have persisted, day after day after day, for 400+ days, because I wanted to have that experience again.

I’ve had it this week.

I love what Natalya did in her last scene. I think Travis is amazing, maybe the most interesting character I’ve ever written and I want to keep writing him more and more and more. Colin is sitting in an interview room right now with a woman who plays an incredibly minor role–this is her only scene and it will last for less than a chapter–and she is so real to me. I know exactly how torn and troubled and overwhelmed she is, how she so much wants to do the right thing, but cannot see a path between love and loyalty and truth.

It feels so nice.

And I’m pretty sure that it’s been this process of tracking my words, trying to stay honest about them, setting a daily goal and striving to meet it, that has gotten me back to this place. I know it’s not going to work every day–I know that there were moments this week that were hard and that I’ve had days when I really didn’t want to write–but right now, on this bright Sunday morning, it feels great to know that I’m writing today because I want to, because I think it’s going to be fun.

Yesterday’s words: 1061, not including the deleted and revised ones.

Today’s goal: to finish the scene I’m in, however many words it takes, and move on to the next one.