I have equated writing before to "driving at night with your headlights on." Some of you might ask if there is any other way to drive at night. If that's you, you're missing the point.
"So what is the point?" you ask. "You can't just say something stupid like that and expect everybody to jump to the conclusion you're trying to make with your inane metaphors."
Jesus, calm down. I'll tell you what my point is. My point is that when driving at night, you can only see as far as your headlights let you. You can only see maybe twenty feet in front of you at any given time, and it's a little unnerving to me to think of things which might be out there that I can't see. Things in the road that could total my car. Sharp turns, road blocks, Bigfoot, the greasy smears of roadkill left by previous vehicles, sudden drop offs with no safety rail, "Dead End" signs, "No Outlet" signs, "Avalanche Area Next 400 Feet" signs. Scary things that I could run into at any moment, and probably would if it weren't for my headlights.
I might be able to see only a little ways ahead of me, but my headlights let me see all this scary shit in enough time to avoid it. So, even if you can only see twenty feet in front of you, you can make the whole trip that way.
Writing's a lot like that.
When I started my NaNo novel, it was late afternoon and the sun was high enough in the sky that I could see perfectly all around me. I didn't need my headlights yet. But now I'm at that point in my novel where the sun has set and it's fully dark. I've turned my headlights on, but one of them is burnt out and the other one is sort of flickering at irregular intervals, and I'm afraid it's going to go out completely. I'm so afraid of it, in fact, that I have caught myself riding the brake. I'm barely moving. I could walk faster than this.
But I don't want to stop completely. I have a destination and I have to get there. I'll be way late, but I'll get there. I'm just hoping that by the time I get there, it'll be morning and I'll be able to see again.
For now, I'm making like the Wallflowers. I can drive it home with one headlight.