A trial separation

Before you get all hot and bothered worrying about my home life – this is a post about writing.  I started to write a post earlier this summer about how committing to write a novel is like committing to a relationship.

Your first 15-30 pages are like the early dating phase.  Everything is exciting and new and of course you haven’t hit any of the relationship pitfalls that befell you in earlier relationships.  These characters have depth and complexity!  This plot is cruising along, exciting and well structured.  The dialogue zings at every line!

Around page 80-100 the doubts begin.  I think it starts with boredom.  Is is always going to be like this?  When do the good and fun parts happen?  It wasn’t like this in the beginning….

This is when you really have to buckle down.  This is when you remind yourself of why you started writing this novel in the first place; you remind yourself of those fine characters, and the excellent pacing.  You go back and re-read your favorite moments from those first 15-30 pages.

Normally I would advise any writer, myself included, to finish what you start.  Not to doubt, but to keep on trucking because you don’t have anything to revise until you have at least completed that shitty first draft.  But something felt different this time.  With my other works in progress I kept on slogging when things got tough because I felt truly connected to these characters, dedicated and committed to telling their story.  This time, not so much.  I like what I’ve written so far, but perhaps I’m not as in love as I need to be to continue doing the work.  So this novel and I are having a trial separation.  It’s conveniently the beginning of the academic year, which is always a tough time to get any writing done.  We’re taking a break – a couple weeks, maybe a month and then I’ll see if I really want to be in this relationship.  Because truthfully anything that occupies this much of my time and thoughts is, in fact, a relationship.

In the mean time I’m doing some other fun essay type projects on the side….ooh on the side, what a hussy I’ve turned out to be!?


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