This was the question asked by a local poet as he ran unhappily on the treadmill at the gym. As I slogged through an elliptical session, commiserating with our mutual dislike of the gym, but also its necessity in an icy world, I pondered his question. Was I writing very much?

Well, no. It feels like I’ve been wrestling my latest novel forever. I’ve bounced wildly back and forth with plot ideas. I had to kill a darling and some great prose because the concept just did not fit with the story. I’ve tried first and second tense. I got rid of a character. It’s exhausting!

But that’s what it’s like. It’s not what people think. Of course, you do have those moments when the book “writes itself.” I don’t usually trust the memory of writers who say this, yet for Geography, that is what happened. That’s what always happens when you write out your soul.

But what about the other times? I want to write this book, but I have to admit that it isn’t as enticing and delicious to me as Geography (think broccoli as opposed to chocolate). It feels more like a struggle. On the other hand, fitness can be a struggle. Nothing worthwhile is done easily, blah blah blah.

Anyway, for the progress report. I think I have a plot. Can I pull it off? That remains to be seen.