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A month ago, I had coffee with a friend and fellow writer. We swapped updates on our works-in-progress. I explained how the current section I was working on had frustrated me for the longest time because it took me forever to figure out how to structure it, but that once I had, the writing went fast.

My friend wanted to know if I was writing this section in the same Word doc as the rest of my novel, or if I’d isolated it into its own Word doc. I told her that I’d isolated it into its own Word doc FOUR separate times. For the first three, I thought I’d figured it out each time, only to discover I hadn’t. These docs were labeled innocuous things like “Eleanor – 1” and “Eleanor – deux” and “Eleanor – part trois,” just so I could keep all the different versions clear in case I needed to go back to them. (Eleanor is the name of the character telling the story in this section of the book.) By the time I hit another wall with “part trois,” I became so frustrated that I opened up a new Word doc and named it GODDAMN ELEANOR.

Yes, in caps.

Then, the breakthrough came. Coincidence? I think not. Sometimes you need to get angry. I think it sends a message to your subconscious that you’re serious so no more farting around.