It is what the boatwright feels when the hull has taken shape and shavings from the mast are beginning to litter the floor.
It is what the mountaineer feels when he is a mile above base camp and the trees are beginning to thin out.
It is what the marathon runner feels at mile 15 and her shoes feel like part of her feet, like wheels she is riding.
It is what I feel when I’m in my eleventh draft of the seventh chapter of a novel.
It is the sense that your skills are being pushed, and doing the work is layered with meaning that you couldn’t imagine yesterday.
It is the discovery that you’re honing your process more than creating a product.
It is the realization that this same process is being expanded to fit this new achievement, and that the product is now informing you and your process as it’s revealed before you.
It is that moment when you are keenly aware that you are learning about your craft and deploying that learning at the same time.
It is the fact that it cannot be done in an afternoon, a week, or a month – and the delight you take in this delay.
The finished manuscript, the boat built, the mountain climbed, and the finish line crossed do more for the person who has done the work than for anyone who might observe the outcome.
This is why I write long form fiction.