I nod in agreement. I am confused. I am perplexed. I am muddled and stupefied.
I am plotting.
To explain; my plotting procedure can best be described with an analogy.
Have you ever been out walking and seen a lovely clear field? The temptation to take a walk across it arises in your mind and before you know it, you strike out. At first it's not bad. There are puddles, but you go around them. Then, there is a little muck, but what the hey, you're sturdy! You've been here before, you can do it! And you proceed.
But soon, alas, the mud thickens. You look ahead. Looks like a long way across, still, but you look back and it's about as far. Might as well go forward. So you slog on.
And the muck thickens, though a few minutes ago you would have said that was impossible. You wade on, determined to make your way through, as the mud cakes your shoes, making each one feel a hundred pounds. You've forgotten completely why it seemed such a good &*%$# idea to cross this field. And looking ahead, the end of the muck still seems as far away as it was a while ago and you no longer even want to get there, but it is a destination, after all, and you must go on. You can't just sit down in the middle of the field and cry, though it's tempting.
Eventually, you begin to wonder, was there a better way though the field? Did you get mired in muck simply because you didn't plan well enough? But then, if you planned all that well, you would never get any work done because you've found in the past that planning too well deadens the joy of the walk. You do like to wander. Planning ahead is not your strong suit.
But you dutifully look up and around to see; could you have avoided this whole mess if you had planned ahead better? This time, when you look up, you find that it's not that far a ways to go now! And it looks like the way ahead is a little drier! Goody!
You promise yourself that you will reward yourself with dry socks and chocolate when all of this is done, but first, you must slog on!
And you do. You're weary, but footstep by footstep you plod on. At the end of it, as you look back, you realize that you really did come a long way, and though you're a mess, you can always clean yourself up. Ultimately, you have accomplished something.
Right now I am still in the field, and the way ahead looks pretty muddy, but I've been here many times before. Plotting a novel, for me, is always the hard part. I have to summon my faith at this point that I will pick my way through the mud and come out on the other side.
And then there will be clean socks and chocolate!