“Don’t you think the last fifty pages will be the hardest to write?” TL asked. I had been working on my Masters in Creative Writing, plugging away to produce 150 pages of polished material, and was, at the moment of this particular conversation, working on the middle fifty pages.
The answer was simple. Years ago, when I lived in California, I did long distance swims at the Cove in La Jolla. Buoys marked a quarter mile and a half mile. I learned right away that the beginning and the end were snaps, when I was in sight of the shore or in sight of the buoy, because I could see where I started and where I was headed. But it was not a snap in the middle, where there was nothing but darkness reaching beneath me, filled with who-knows-what, with no buoy in sight yet and no shoreline visible behind me. This was the stretch where I struggled with uncertainty, even panicking a little at the thought I might not even be swimming in the right direction. Straying out of the channel with So Cal rip tides lurking was not an appealing thought, and being seen by others as flailing and clueless was even worse, since one must look cool at all times, no matter what, especially in Southern California.
So, returning to the question. Which 50 pages are the most difficult to write? Clearly, it's the middle ones, as they require a strong dose of steely determination and blind faith, in addition to the usual insanity.