Do you remember Newton's Cradle from physics? The little toy used to demonstrate the conservation of energy? You hit a ball on one end and the energy travels through the other spheres to the far end where another ball swings away. Click. Click. Click.
The energy is moving the whole time but you only see the results on the two extremes. Everything thing else is sedentary. Everything else looks unmoved and uncaring. It's the dark place, the place where energy is spent without any results seen.
If you're working out the long dark is the first twelve weeks of any diet or exercise program, the three months where you see no results.
In writing, the long dark is the time between getting the idea and seeing the final book in a reader's hand. This - as most writers will attest - makes up the bulk of writing.
Readers see the peaks. Readers see the new titles, and beta readers hear about the news ideas. Very few people will be privy to the long walk between New Idea and Finished Product. Very few people know how many hours you spent getting that one thing exactly right. Even fewer will know how many rejection letters you received or how many times people laughed at your ideas.
This is the long dark, my lovelies. It's not a safe place. It's not for the faint of heart. This is where you need all your courage and all your strength. Because if you die here, you'll be just another set of bones seen only by other brave explorers. There is no prize for entering the long dark, only for surviving.
So take your bracer and shield. Choose your weapon. Enter the fray. And whatever long dark awaits you... attack! Go forward with courage. Remind yourself daily why you dared this adventure. Take strength from your dreams. Move forward. Don't give up. You're going to make this dream reality.