Susanna Daniel took ten years to finish her novel — a harrowing decade that she describes today on Slate:
During my should-be-writing years, I thought about my novel all the time. Increasingly, these were not happy or satisfying thoughts. My “novel” (which had started to wear its own air quotes in my head) became something closer to enemy than lover. A person and his creative work exist in a relationship very much like a marriage: When it’s good, it’s very good, and when it’s bad, it’s ugly. And when it’s been bad for a long, long time, you start to think about divorce.
My friend Bob, a playwright, told me years ago that he finally understood how writers stop writing. “It happens one day at a time,” he said to me, clearly in the midst of a revelation. I’d come to the same realization a few years earlier. In the years between conceiving my book and finishing it, there wasn’t one month when I didn’t have a writing goal-five pages a week, say, or half of a chapter-but most months, I didn’t even come close.
Oh sure, maybe you’re “frustrated and sad and lonely and hopeless and sick to death of [your]self,” but at least you’re not wearing a name tag to encourage camaraderie. Cry those poor fools at Politico a river.