It was about this time last year that I finished my first book–the first piece of long narrative fiction I ever finished. In my entire life of writing. The very first thing that was more than a few thousand words. It was 65k words long, it took me more than a year, and it felt so good. This one is 27k (at this moment), and it took me 22 days. There’s a kind of black magic in finishing a book. Even when it’s crap (those particular 65k words will never be published). Especially when it’s crap. Because we all know when something is crap.

The difference between writing a book and knitting a sweater is that you can fix a book after it’s done. With the sweater, you should probably stop and go back and fix your mistake before you get too far. Don’t go back and fix your mistakes while you’re writing. That way lies madness. Push your way to the end. Trust me on this. When you turn back, you get lost on the path. You lose your way. But if you continue to the end, then you can make yourself a map, and the next time through won’t be so hard.