As I've mentioned before, I have kept a writing journal for years, a method advocated by the writers of Overcoming Writing Blocks. It is supposed to help you figure out what circumstances, incidents, moods, etc, contribute to blocking. I don't think I've ever really used it for that, but I've found it has given me considerable comfort to reread passages over the years.
Today, for example, I went back to my entry on January 2, 2005, when I was at just about the same place in Shadow Over Kiriath as I am now in Return of the Guardian-King. Here's the entry:
"1 pm -- I am now stuck on Ch 22. Had what I thought were some brilliant, plot-opening, breakthrough ideas at 4:00am which I actually got up to write down. But now they don't seem quite as stupendous...
"11pm -- I thought about motivations, main goals, etc, and that felt like progress. Then I decided I'd gone overboard on the direness of Chesedh's plight and fixed that. But now I'm not sure if I'm just going overboard in everything, dragging things out too long, introducing too many issues, diluting concerns... I'm too close to tell, I know, but I feel tonight as if I've lost all control of the material. So I have to go back to the Lord. Maybe I don't know what's going on, but He does. He's called me. He's promised to guide me. I believe He is doing so and for now... He's chosen not to reveal the big picture to me.
"Remember that lesson that Pastor taught? How the Lord deliberately makes some parts of His direction obscure to test our relationship to His authority and His essence? When it doesn't make sense, you don't have the details, don't know where you're going? He's told me over and over that this is His doing. Accept it. Trust Him and keep plugging. He will lead me in paths I have not known..."
I could write that same entry today! I'm stuck on ch 21/23, and I feel as if I've lost all control of the material. That I have far too much to ever get in and at the same time what I've done is thin and weird and rambling. Right now it seems incredibly lame, so much so I wonder how I've come to this point. So it is a comfort to know that I've felt the same at the same place in writing a book before (and middles of books are notoriously difficult to write). It's also a comfort to re-read the words of encouragement and reminder that I'd written to myself at the time, for they apply just as much today as a year ago.