Ahh . . . writing. If someone had told me that writing my first novel would take 3 1/2 plus years, I would have doubted it. I probably would have said, "Oh, I'll be able to do it faster." . . . . Or I might have just said forget it . . . but I think not.
I was compelled to write this novel by a very strong force.
And since I started, I have worked on this book almost six days a week. If a few days go by -- more than two -- without me dipping my writer's hand in to have a look at how things are going, I go nuts!
This is DHARMA, as the yogis call it.
Your path.
Something you must do everyday or you don't feel write. Sorry, I mean right.

I thought, "This will be a light-hearted book about friendship," the way the Fairie Books -- those cute little chapter books -- are about friendship.
One friend and one conflict -- a few twists and turns, and, voila! It's resolved.

Well, let me tell you, it ain't turning out like that in this here novel.
It's a middle grade book, sure, but it's deep.
It's forcing me into places I was when I was eleven.
And that's a lot more complicated than one might think.
Maybe that's why it took a few drafts.

But it's worth it. It feels like I'm getting somewhere. I like reading this thing now!
It's fun and exciting and scary and deep.
I can't believe I did it.
And it has taken a lot of perseverance, but I have a lot more still left.
It never runs out.

I've always been someone who didn't like to quit until things were beyond perfect.
When I used to take life drawing classes -- when I was eleven -- I used to work on my sketches in class and I would be the last one to finish. I was hailed by my parent's academic friends as a child prodigy -- but I think they just liked that I painted nudes and most eleven year old kids didn't. I was precocious.

I guess they call this, willpower.
That and the ability to take criticism. As readers and writers gave me feedback, I listened and digested and thought about my story and I changed things eventually -- not until I was ready ...and maybe that's one of the reasons it has taken a while. 
But I couldn't make meaningful changes until I was ready . . .until the new path became visible to me.
I couldn't just take someone else word for it. This is what all agents and editors say, And they are used to waiting for manuscripts to be done.
Just don't take too long, I tell myself.
It's almost there . . . I can feel it, plus I'm on page 194 out of about 215 in my revisions.