A book that was to have been published by now still sits in the edit pile. It’s the first of a series – should have been done ages ago since the second continues to await seeing a page. Penciled in on my desk calendar back in March is the title of that first book. There’s no line through it marking “complete” and that bothers me. It continues to hover over my head each day I walk to my desk, as I walk around my house, as I drive in my car – you get the gist. It’s never away from me.
The story was pulled from the draft of the first novel that I’d ever written about ten years ago – the one that sits in my file cabinet. I found I liked this character’s angle better than the one I’d thought I was primarily writing about. After I rewrote it and completed the draft back in February, I was ready to see it in print. Then, the unthinkable happened. I didn’t like it.
Oh, I still liked the story – the plot, the theme, all of that – but I wasn’t pleased with the point of view. My main character’s motivation was not strong enough. The second protagonist’s motivation was razor-sharp, but it was never primarily his tale. I had to overhaul this thing and with that came frustration and ultimately lack of action on my end. Needless to say, I’ve done those folks one hell of a disservice, so they continually badger me about it.
Like me, my characters have dreams. Theirs are simple – to just be brought into the real world. Unfortunately, they rely on me and I have to come through. If I don’t, I’m not only letting them down, I’m really pushing myself down much more because I’m not writing as I should.
Marketing my other books took precedence and so did real life. I have been writing short intros to other tales as well as chapters of other books that circle in my head. I love my writing life. Even though that main book and I are on a break, I have to let out the other stories. I can’t simply stop writing at all. To keep my writing life, I have to grab it. Maintain a firm grip. Time of day shouldn’t matter – even though it often carries me past midnight, as a result of my “real” workplace and household lives. It’s mine, no one else’s. Writing fulfills me in a way nothing else can. No one than another writer would understand that, and it’s not up to me to explain it to anyone else – anymore.
Even when I’m too mentally drained to think beyond a sentence, I’ll write something! A paragraph, a page or a few. In most cases, I come alive. Proof that I’m in my element, that I’m living within my passion.
My writing life is mine. If I don’t claim it no one else can and whenever the essence – thoughts, words, dialogue, imagery, even good ol’ theme – floats along in the ethers over my head, untouched, I am wasting the entire life that’s been given to me. It’s like breathing with half of a heart. It simply can’t be done and I shouldn’t try.
How do you protect your writing life? Do share!
Words to the writer: Live your writing life – always. Let nothing get in your way. Let no one get in your way.
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