The Analogy Machine: Not Like Riding Rollercoasters


Yep, be jealous. I went to Magic Mountain this weekend. Highlights: almost blacking out on Goliath because of the insane G forces…sprinting to X2 right when the park opened so we only had to wait 20 minutes in line…floating through spirals and corkscrews while laughing my head off on Tatsu… Lowlights: looooong lines and expeeeensive food (what a rip-off!).

My ever-present writer brain tagged along, too, and told me that writing a novel is not like riding a rollercoaster.

Riding a rollercoaster is:

  • all about waiting in long lines
  • all about wondering how much longer the lines are going to last
  • all about wanting to just get on the ride

Writing a novel is:

  • (all about waiting, wondering, and wanting, yes, okay)
  • BUT it’s not about wishing away the waiting, wondering, and wanting
  • NOR is it all and only about the ride at the end of the line

As my friends and I played our way through our tenth game of “Never Have I Ever” and sweated buckets while waiting to get on Riddler’s Revenge, I was helpfully reminded that unlike riding roller coasters — (where it’s all about the destination and the end of the line) — writing is about enjoying the journey.

Sure, the “ride” at the “end” (getting an agent, getting published, going on tour, and whatever else your wild dreams would like to insert here) is super cool, full of adrenaline rushes and moments where your stomach drops out of your body… But the process (the writing, the editing, the querying, the waiting) is super cool, too. Maybe cooler.

Often we (okay, often I) get so fixated on the idea of getting an agent, getting an agent, getting out of this in-between stage — that we (I) forget why we (I) started writing in the first place. The rides at Magic Mountain have these handy signs that say: expected wait from this point: 1000 hours… but life doesn’t. So enjoy the journey.


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Filed under The Analogy Machine, writing

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