The Real Light At The End Of The Tunnel

There’s a point in my writing process when I get to that “happy place” near the end of the manuscript. I know how the story is going to end, who dies–who survives and what rubble is left behind. It should be a “happy place” with 90,000 words all tucked in and put to rest in their little paragraphs, but I seem to hit this barrier where my writer brain feels like a roomba–bouncing off to the next filthy room.

A Roomba Union Meeting image by Todd Kurt via flickr creative commons

A Roomba Union Meeting
image by Todd Kurt via flickr creative commons

It’s like the creative part is done and I want to move on to the next thing. The next new thing. I’ve lived with the current manuscript for three months and the caffeine fueled howler monkey in me wants to keep creating. The last two chapters (or so) are all outlined, mulled over and ready for the page, but as B.B. King said, The Thrill Is Gone. (creatively speaking)

I get this close to the end and every time I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I convince myself that the light is from a train and I need to jump off the track. I start thinking about other story ideas, the next book I want to write, or the next “Wouldn’t it be cool to write…”

This time feels a little different. This is the sequel to AT WHAT COST (released by Crooked Lane Books in December 2016) This manuscript will follow in 2017. So, instead of bouncing off to the next story idea, I want (need) to get the ending pieces of this one just right. I know there will be edit after edit and rewrites until I’m blue in the face to round off all the rough edges and fill in the moon crater sized plot holes. Usually, this phase is accompanied by self-mutilation inflicted in a series of paper cuts, nausea and an increase in alcohol intake.


While the seasonal (It’s hot and I’m hydrating–don’t judge) alcohol intake may have taken an uptick, I’m enjoying the wrap up phase and looking forward to the editing process. There are so many ways the end of this story could go and who might survive in the next book in the series. I think that is what is giving me a moment of pause–this moment all wrapped into a few dozen pages will set tone for the next installment in the series. For me, that’s mind-blowing stuff. I never expected to be here when I starting down this writing path.

I’m grateful to be working with a great team, a supportive wifey and I get to spend time doing something that I enjoy. And after working in and around prisons for nearly 30 years, that’s not something said lightly. So maybe, just make that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train this time.

The Light At The End of The Tunnel image by george redgrave via flickr creative commons

The Light At The End of The Tunnel
image by george redgrave via flickr creative commons





  1. I always think I’m finished and then the editor says no. Not a good feeling. Congrats on seeing the light!

  2. Yay to being focused and editing instead of having 57 ideas bouncing around your brain. 🙂 Congrats. Also, if you add water to the vodka (or ice cubes – your call), you’re hydrating.

  3. Gerald Landis · · Reply

    I am trying to form a habit of telling
    the writer of a blog I have enjoyed
    their page!

    God bless and keep you!

    Gerald Landis
    3515 Craig Drive
    Forest City, Florida 32703

    1. Thank you, Gerald!

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