Every day I write between 500 and 1,000 words—tortoise speed for a novelist. Some days I don’t even write 500. I’m not sure how I arrived at 80,000, but thank God, I’m here.
Writing this book has been a slow, deliberate, sometimes painful process. When we moved to Germany in August, I didn’t think I would ever see the finish line on this manuscript. But I see a faint line now. In the distance. It’s blurry, but if I keep huffing and puffing and crawling on all fours, I’ll cross the line before the holidays and collapse someplace near a warm fire and a Christmas tree.
Every day I chase two toddlers around the house until their bedtime and then I cram on Leia’s Game for a few hours after they’ve fallen asleep. I write, research, edit, surf the Internet, pour another cup of tea, rewrite …and when it’s time to quit for the day (i.e. I’m nodding off at the computer), I always wish I wrote more.
I’ve learned so many new things during this process. I’ve researched the facts and figures and heart-wrenching stories of families that have been torn apart because of gambling addictions. I’ve learned about the gambling industry, home equity loans, and the correct term for a coffee pot (I always forget the word “carafe”).
I’ve toured Las Vegas and Lake Mead via Google’s incredible satellite photography. I’ve picked apart my Dad’s poor brain asking question after question about checkrides, layovers, and flying an airplane (he’s a retired United Airlines captain). And I’ve learned how to play Blackjack.
I love to learn even more than I love to write.
But I don’t have time to practice my aviation knowledge (thankfully) or Blackjack skills. The past ten days, God breathed new life into my fingers, and I wrote 11,000 words. A sprint toward the end. It’s fun being the rabbit for a week or two.
I’m supposed to deliver 85,000 words on Feb. 1. The first finish line in a series before the book is published in 2007. But it’s the biggest finish line for me. After February, I’ll have a year to clean and polish and work with an editor to decide what stays in the book and (ouch!) what goes.
But in the meantime, I’m enjoying the process even when the tortoise is ahead of me.
The crazy thing is—I’ll miss Leia and her story when I’m finally done.