You'll have to forgive me if I sound a little loopy. It's 3:30am and I'm awake because I have a cold, cannot breathe, and am feeling giddy from oxygen deprivation. But I just can't help but shout it from the rafters: "It's alive!"
Tonight before I went to bed, I 100-thinged my way to the end of the novel. It's finished.
Not in the sense that anybody can read it right now, of course. It's about as ready to entertain company as Frankenstein's monster was. But it's a living, breathing thing now--with a fully formed skeleton, and some bits of tendon and muscle holding it together.
Considering how (not) long I've been working on it, I'm beside myself with joy. It took me forever to figure out the middle to How Home Improvement Saved My Marriage, and even though I worked on it pretty constantly for two years, I'm still not happy with how the plot turned out. 900 Miles, on the other hand, has come together so perfectly that I'm still in a state of disbelief. It came from my head. It was my idea. And now I've gotten the whole thing fleshed out somewhere on paper. Just like that. (It's really not as easy as it sounds.)
In my head, I'm thinking, "So this is how it's done... This is why I haven't been able to finish anything before..."
Just like the slog-chronologically-through-your-novel approach wasn't working for me, neither was the choose-your-own-adventure method of plotting. I'm glad I finally figured this out, although it would've been nice if I had come to this realization sooner rather than later. It really helps to have a fully-formed plot before you start writing the book. Funny how I never caught on to that little nugget before.
But better late than never.