Write the story you want to read. I’ve heard that so many times and I think it’s time to start listening. I have six books in various stages of completion and while I love them all, I can’t seem to finish any of them. I should just keep the ideas and start over from scratch – but that’s so many words to just toss. Over 100K words. So.Many.Words. And some of them are really good words. Kill Your Darlings is something I also hear a lot. I’m supposed to be listening now, right?
Here is what I know. I know that I stopped writing because I was immersed in an imaginary world for so long that I almost lost my real one. I know that I didn’t make time to write because I was scared to let my husband out of my sight for fear of what he may do. I know that I have now made peace with that and no longer believe I can keep anyone from doing what they want, no matter how much I hover. I pick up book after book and read some but just lose interest in most, because they aren’t what I need. I need a story that grips me and characters with layers and a romance for the ages. I want pure, I-never-even-saw-him-coming love. I want my stories. So it’s time to write. I’m ready.
NaNoWriMo is coming. I’m going to participate this year and write 50K words of something. I’m not sure what yet. I’m not sure if they will be something that I have worked on in the past or something new – some ‘big magic’ that might hit me on October 31st in true pantser fashion. I don’t know. I just know that it’s time. Life is short. Write the book.
I’ve said it over and over; writer is who I am, author is what I do. Well, these days it’s more like: writer is who I am, stare-at-blank-pages-and-watch-my-amazon-ranking-decrease-by-the-nanosecond is what I do. I am a writer. No one can take that away from me. But in terms of writing to finish the multiple novels I have in progress, I’m not writing. Football teams get rebuilding years, so why can’t I? This, as in 2015, is my rebuilding year. I came out of the gate strong – a novel (or more) a year from 2008-2012, all of which were published in some form. I spent the entire year of 2013 editing my most recent failure, I mean novel, which was published in December of that same year…and I never really got back on the wagon. Publishing that book was the worst experience of my young writing career and left me jaded, bruised and certain that I, in fact, was not good enough to be an author. Yes, I spent a solid 12 months feeling sorry for myself. What can I say? I have a hard time letting things go.
To be fair, life has changed me too. I’m not the starry-eyed girl that I once was and now know there is no such thing as a story-book happily ever after. There’s ‘we might not kill each other and are too stubborn to just let things go’ and ‘I’m very attracted to you but it would be great if you didn’t speak or have an opinion’ and maybe, if you’re lucky, ‘we get along pretty well and still find each other’s thoughts and feelings relevant.’ Needless to say, love isn’t a go-to plot point for me these days. Now, I’m more about finding yourself in the blackness of life – carving out your little portion of forever and finding a shred of peace in the madness of existence. So I carve away, rebuilding something that could someday resemble a soul and read books like, ‘How To Fix Your Novel’ and ‘Writer’s Doubt’ both of which are very good, by the way.
I imagine this is what those who are truly mad must feel like when they stop taking their medication because they ‘feel fine’ and don’t need it anymore. I do need to write, but I just…can’t. Random thoughts jumble in my head at night when I try to sleep, odd words spill out into the emails and content of my day job and people I’ve never met are angry with me for refusing to finish their story. What if the sad truth of the matter is there is nothing left within me to share? What if the sad truth is…there never was?
Like I said – a rebuilding year.