Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Non-Exclusive Relationship

Taking a break from holiday madness to address every writer's dirty little secret.


It happens a lot. Or does it? I can't decide. You know when you're super pumped about an idea and spend forever working only to one day wake up, turn on your laptop and go 'meh'? That sort of situation typically gets lumped in with traditional writer's block, brushed off as a phase we're bound to grow out of if we work at it hard enough or give it time to breathe.

That doesn't always solve the problem. Sometimes it takes months to get back the same drive you once had for a project, sometimes it doesn't come back at all. If you find yourself hating your work and hating yourself for not being able to work though what you're convince is just a rough patch, drop everything and try something new.

When we fall out of love it's because something is wrong with the relationship; the same can be said for a novel. It's missing something, something you crave but might not be able to pinpoint or give name to quite yet. And what do we do when we fall out of love? We wallow in self-loathing for a while only to shake it off, get dressed up and set out on a mission to find something better.

You don't need to worry about what went wrong with your project (or relationship), just leave it on the back burner and try something new. Maybe it'll come back to you, maybe you'll find something better, maybe you'll go through seven more 'meh' projects before you settle on one which really, really keeps your interest.

I've said it before: writers have unlimited options. Being able to create anything, anyone, anytime is awesome. With that kind of potential though, it can be hard to settle down. 70K+ words surrounding the same little universe is a big commitment that doesn't have to be exclusive. Enjoy indecision. Enjoy 'meh' moments along the way, your novel doesn't mind.