Writing a book is long journey, one rife with all kinds of obstacles and hurdles. Plot, thematic coherence, characterization, dialogue, etc. - any one of these can become the barrier that proves insurmountable, pushing that manuscript into the forgotten recesses of your computer's hard drive. Every author I've spoken with has encountered at least one significant hurdle in the writing of a novel, and each has had to deal with it. These can be considerable setbacks, sometimes lasting several months as the author wrestles with the hurdle. But this is the point - the author wrestles and deals with it, refusing to simply quick-fix the problem with a roughshod job, because (s)he knows the novel will be all the better for their efforts. It's what transforms a mediocre novel into an unforgettable one.
Of course, you can just ignore the problem points and rush to the end, impatient to finally type THE END. Trouble is, if you don't fix the problems, if you just bludgeon your way past and through the hurdles, you may get to the finishing line, but you have not exactly won the race. See the hurdler in video below.
When my agent, Catherine Drayton, told me that there were some "hurdles" that had to be dealt with before submitting to the publishing houses, I wanted to pull my hair out. When I realized that these were not quick fixes but would require a bit of actual thought, creativity, and work, I wanted to pull my teeth out. Then I wanted to pull her teeth out. What I wanted was for her to submit the manuscript yesterday, already.
I'm so glad she didn't. Catherine was so spot-on in her critique. It took work - hard, bruising work - but it ultimately made the novel that much better. It was a good reminder that the point is not simply to write a novel, blazing through all the hurdles, but to take the time and effort to write an AWESOME one. And that means playing by the rules, putting the time in.