More than I would have credited. I cut some pages, hoping to get myself back on track, but that wasn’t helping. Then I decided to change the names of two characters that had been a slight, back-of-the-mind irritant since almost the minute I wrote them down. And now the words are flowing again.
What the hell. Writing is a weird way to make a living. You do it for years, and stupid shit like this can still throw you completely off the rails — and figuring out how to get back on the rails is sometimes like solving goddamned Myst. Go here, go there, turn this, tinker with that, walk all the way back to the box and push the button and see if anything happens this time. If not, go look for other stuff to twiddle with. No instruction book, no map, just you and your notes and a firm belief that the puzzle does have a solution.
That’s the key right there, though. The puzzle does have a solution. You just have to be willing to put in the seat work and the brain work to find it.