'Ah,' he said, rather smugly I thought. 'You know what they say...'
'Nope,' I replied. 'What?'
'The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.'
This was particularly irritating because I'd said it to him last year about a book he was moaning about and regretting accepting the commission for, and I have a horrible feeling I was very smug at the time too. But the really awful thing is - it's TRUE.
When we set out on a novel we don't always know where we're going, but unless we take that first step we'll never find out. And then take another step, and another. That thousand mile journey is made up of lots of little steps and if we concentrate only on the enormity of the journey we'll never have the courage to take a single step, and we certainly won't enjoy the process.
So there we have it: the 100,000 word novel is one sentence after another. And there's nothing more irritating than having your own advice quoted back to you.