Ah, to be back in the groove.

To be back in that fiction-writing groove. To have pushed and shoved and wiggled out of the initial, debilitating phase that comes with starting a novel. To hit the open road with a clear sight of where you want to take this story, what kind of people will play in it and what kind of problems they’ll face.

This is where I am, and it feels great.

Starting a new novel is a little daunting, if you stop and think about it. And getting to the point in which you’re cranking and having fun and feeling excited about what can happen to your characters is both a rush and relief. It also doesn’t hurt when one of your best friends just got a piece placed in a great literary journal, another buddy is excited about a short he’s writing, and you yourself are reading an engrossing new book by a great author who grew up just a BMX ride away.

I think outside events like these can act as a kind of “literary juice” — a motivational cocktail that makes me wanna lay down some rubber on my own pages regardless of the roadblocks.

Here’s hoping the juice lasts.