Let’s chalk it up to being smack dab in the middle of the novel. Chapter 13 has brought with it a malaise of epic proportions (seemingly), an overwhelming sense of monotonous pointlessness. It really reveals how dependant I am on some kind of positive feedback mechanism, and how much of a bummer it is when I get tired of the rewards themselves.
It’s the deep kind of funk when you can’t even imagine what could make you happy, and you can’t point to an obvious issue that is causing you grief. There’s nothing wrong, per se, just nothing going particularly well. But even that kind of generalization is misleading, because things are going well. Max is happy, healthy, learning and growing, and he delights me several times a day. There are elements of my parenting and being a role model that need some sprucing up, but I’m still the best dad for him.
And in the long-term, big picture, things will work out. I should look at this time spent writing as my apprenticeship. Like an apprentice woodworker, I’m going to make a lot of ugly doors before I make a beautiful cabinet. Like a plumber-in-training, I’m going to ankle-deep in poop until I learn to doublecheck my work. No one writes a great novel without spending the time learning how, and screwing it up along the way.