Write that book: A 6-part series on writing a novel.

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"Write that book" scrolls across my screen saver. It's there every day; a constant reminder, staring back at me after the blue screen of activity gives way to procrastination, frustration or the words become insurmountable walls of gibberish piled on top of each other.  

For me, the process was similar to thru-hiking the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail-only much harder. And just like life on the trail, there comes the point, early on, when the struggle gets real, and you probe your soul to find the answer to some simple questions: Is this worth it to me? Do I want to commit months, even years, of precious time to fulfill this goal?  Why?  Straightforward questions, with loaded answers depending on the circumstances.  And just like that first thirty mile stop on the trail, you can either quit with the majority or persevere because something at your core is telling you to keep going no matter how difficult.   

The one thing that I can promise is that your reason for writing will regularly be scrutinized and tested until the very last sentence is written. There will be hundreds of peaks and valleys and some of those icy river crossings where the cold water penetrates into your boots to soak your last pair of dry socks.  

There will also come periods of jubilation where your writing takes on a rhythm of its own. When the research, story, and characters come to life in ways that you never imagined.  And in that dimly lit room at 2 am you will eventually reach your trails end, the figurative Mount Katahdin.