The first part of periodized weight lifting is called anatomical adaptation, which means, “Oy, muscles! These little bits of weight that you’re going to be picking up and putting down for the next four weeks? Yeah, this is just the warm up. It gets tougher from here.”

The thing about AA is that the exercises are embarrassing, things like getting on all fours, then holding a 2-lb. dumbell in front of you while you straighten the opposite leg. The weights are tiny, the poses lack dignity, and you’re the only one in the gym doing this. Even if you’re in a place where Serious Athletes are working out, it’s tough not to feel like a ninny.

Oh, and the weights are pink.

I bring all this up because the more I work on Windswept, the more I can feel things stretching out inside my skull. The past year of short stories and Tweets and blog posts was all adaptation, and now the hard work begins. This shit isn’t easy, and I wonder how people like Jay Lake can crank out an incredible amount of words and while working a steady job and raising a kid (hint: he doesn’t watch TV). I’m also letting myself wander into blind corners and write stuff that is sheer crap, because I know that I can redo it in editing. I’m lazy and would rather get it right the first time, but I now know that editing is just a different kind of writing, not repeating previous work.

Still, I wonder if I’ve bitten off a lot more than I can chew. One hundred thousand words by Christmas Eve? That’s going to be quite a haul. But better to say a whole bunch of stuff at first and pare it down later, right?

Right.