I surround myself with a fantastic group of writers, each with strengths that far outweigh my abilities in certain aspects of storytelling. One is a realist, one a free-spirit. One understands my other-worldly creative pulls, one is the positive force that keeps the inertia of our writing moving ahead. Countless other individuals have contributed to the writer I've become and have paved the way for the next segment of my journey. But as much as we rely on each other for footholds and anchors, there comes a time when we must scale the project alone.
A novel is the equivalent of a solitary pilgrimage. A climbing expedition no less important than conquering a class 5 peak. At landmarks along the way, the writer must confront weighty choices and learn to interpret the instinct that bubbles up from within. Long and winding, the path to completion begins to ring hollow with isolation and the characters in the story become the companions we rely on for guidance. Wisdom. Inspiration.
No stack of manuals on writing craft, no clocked hours in workshops, no amount of preparation or pre-writing rituals can prepare us for our journey. The path to writing is writing. And the end result is more spectacular than the clearest summit vista because it came from within.
"One learns by doing the thing; for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try." ~Sophocles