“The road to Hell is paved with works-in-progress.” ~ Philip Roth
I have a problem. And some would call it writer’s block. Although technically, I’m finished my first draft and am now in the revising stage. But many scenes need to be re-written and added and deleted, so it feels an awful lot like the writing stage. Despite this, I’m still not sure if it’s writer’s block. What if it’s simply procrastination? Only procrastination isn’t procrastination if you never end up finishing what you started.
Am I just plain losing it? Or is it the dreaded fear of commitment?
Writing an entire book, is, after all, quite a commitment. Which got me thinking, what kind of relationship do I have with my book? I haven’t worked on it in…Well, I don’t even want to say. It’s too embarrassing.
So what went wrong? Was it me? Was it my Work In Progress? Or was it, like most relationships, a bit of both?
It’s easy to place the blame solely on the shoulders of my WIP. (You don’t call, you don’t write – course, the writing is my job, but never mind that). You see, my WIP developed a nasty attitude over time.
But, let’s start at the beginning.
In the beginning, it was…romantic: candles, incense, Satsuma body butter… (Um, what??) Ahem, anyways. The point is, my WIP used to woo me; it seduced me. There was a sense of urgency about it that’s missing now. My story used to come to me at all hours of the day and night. I still remember the first time. And, I know how cheezy this is going to sound, but I actually saw my WIP in my dreams before we “officially” met. And when I woke up, I knew: this, was the ONE. This was the idea that would bring me back to life. This was the story that would finally have me commit. So, we got to know each other, slowly at first. (Didnt’ want to move too fast – didn’t want to get burned) . I would jot down notes, outlining where I wanted our relationship to go, (which, in retrospect, may not have been the romantic gesture I was hoping it to be).
I became obsessed. Recording conversations we had. Playing them over and over in my mind – scenes playing out like a movie in my head. I couldn’t watch a TV show or a movie, or read a book, without it reminding me of my precious WIP. I was hooked.
Our steady dates were no longer enough. I needed to be with my story, all of the time. My obsession was interfering with my ability to function. Walks alone became opportunities to pine. Street lamps were only reminders of scenes from my WIP. My car became a portal to another world, one in which my fantasy came to life. How, you ask? Well, thankfully, it wasn’t acid.
It was listening to the spy movie soundtrack of the day while driving (which I don’t recommend doing because it feels like someone is tailing you and only promotes speeding).
Other books were unsatisfying to me. I only had eyes for mine.
Which brings me to the possessiveness. I’m not proud of it, but there it is. I’m laying it all out on the table. I became obsessed and jealous. I owned that WIP. I didn’t want anyone going near it, not even a glance.
Well, I think you know where this is heading. I should have seen it coming. I was possessive. I smothered it. My WIP needed space. It needed to escape from the grip I had on it.
And I watched, in open-mouth disbelief as it fell through my fingers. And just like that, it was…gone. What had I done? I became depressed and lonely without my WIP. I tried to bring back the fantasies, but even they were lost to me.
Another theory, is the possibility that becoming so close to my WIP scared me. That my fear of commitment resulted in a distancing of myself. I confess, I wasn’t always there for my story. Sometimes, I downright neglected it. But, and I know I’ve said it before, it was always on my mind.
I haven’t accepted that it’s over. I’m determined to get it back, no matter what I have to do. (That came out creepier than intended.) What I mean is, I won’t go down the same road again. I’ve changed. And I’ll prove it to my WIP. We will be happy together once again.
In the beginning, it was so easy. At least for me. It did all the heavy lifting and I just coasted along. I became spoiled, maybe even developed an entitlement complex. But next time, it will be different. It will be a healthy relationship.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but nobody said that relationships were easy. We’ve finished the first round, and it’s left us both with bruised egos and broken hearts. But, after we work out our problems, after we’ve revised our relationship, it will be better.
Just give me one more chance?
Any suggestions on how to revive this relationship? Have you been there? Should I just call it quits?
You can find the rest of my posts on the subject of writing, under the category The Writing Process, found in the right hand column of my blog.