I'm still in head down mode until I finish Scalzi's intro, which is due today, but I had that magical moment yesterday when I moved some things around, added a few paragraphs, then sat back in my chair and said to the empty room, "There it is! I can finally say 'it's coming together.'"
Once I get to this point in a project, it's like I've been flailing around in a twisty maze of passages, all alike, and I've finally been handed a torch and a map. I never know when it's going to happen on a particular job, but I'm always relieved when it finally does. One day before the deadline isn't the best time for it to happen, but it's not the blurst time, either.
This is one of the reliable steps in my writing process, like the "this sucks, I suck, everything I do sucks, I'm the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked" step*. There are other, less-amusingly-named-but-equally-reliable steps in my writing process, and even the frustrating ones give me reassurance, because I know that I'm on track. There's being stuck, and then there's being stuck, you know?
These steps come in random order, and the ones where I feel stuck usually last from a few hours to a few days. There isn't a reliable trick to get through them, but knowing that there are these mile markers along the road has given me a lot more confidence as a writer.
Currently, I'm in a step I call "I really need to finish the thing, but I think I'll write something else instead."
Yep. Right on schedule.
*This is the step where I constantly repeat my own advice to myself: Don't be afraid to suck. It's easier to fix something that's broken than it is to fill up an empty page.