You can count the words, and even the years, but can you count the beads of sweat? The doubts crawling like ants up your leg?
I tried to quit many times. I couldn't understand why I would make myself suffer so much over writing that absolutely no one, except my dear beloved Gail, gave a damn about.
Was there a writers' rehab I could join? 12 steps I could take? Was there any way to beat the compulsion that propelled me to the computer every day? Could I overcome this self-destructive habit that swallowed up all my free time and soured every moment of freedom I managed to create?
No, there wasn't. No matter how many times I stopped, even the month that my therapist forced me to cease and desist, I always came back. The relapse was always around the corner.
One day I realized that there was no way to end the suffering except by soldiering on, and FINISHING, goddammit.
Which I finally did, on January 12, 2014. My facebook post of that day: "I wrote THE END today. I am numb." It received 44 likes and 35 comments, the most I have ever received.
The suffering ended only momentarily. The magnetic pull to the computer has returned in full force, more virulent than before. One query letter a day for 90 days, I have solemnly vowed.
After that? I've already begun research on the next novel. I can't wait to get back to my drug of choice, the torture chamber that is writing.