This year my writing has taken a big hit. Or maybe I should say my lack of writing, since what I’ve mostly been doing is revisions (which anyone who has been reading this blog with any regularity is well aware of given my constant bemoaning of that fact).
But worse than the seemingly never-ending revisions, the thing that has bothered me the most was my lack of desire to do it. I came back from the Christmas holidays and hit a brick wall. I had to force myself to get out of bed in the morning to tackle the work. And it felt like work. The joy was gone.
What was wrong? Writing was my escape, it was the thing that got me out of bed in the morning, it was my passion! Was it possible…could I have…(insert gasp of horror here)…fallen out of love with writing??
Oh dear God, say it isn’t so.
But that’s what it felt like. And nothing I did brought that surge of desire back. I considered couple’s counselling to see if we could work out our differences, but surprisingly enough most therapists gave me a rather odd look when I suggested it and once I saw them reaching for the white coat with the extra long sleeves and ties and buckles in the back I reconsidered this option.
I contemplated separating, but that seemed such a drastic option. I mean, we’ve been together so long I simply couldn’t imagine my life without writing. Every time I did this dark, bottomless abyss replaced the spot where my future should have been. Who was I without writing? I couldn’t answer. It would be like saying ‘who am I without my arms, or my heart, or my imagination’.
No. Separation was not the answer. I would have to stay in our unhappy relationship, hang in there in the hopes something changed. But weeks passed, and then months, and still the distance between us grew. We became angry bedmates, wallowing in our inability to make things right. We spoke seldom and always with an underlying tension that could ignite an argument at any given moment.
I finished the major revisions and breathed a sigh of relief. We had at least weathered the storm intact albeit with a few scars. I took a couple of days off then started the final read through and clean up, when a strange thing happened. I began to enjoy the process again. The words whispered in my mind and the characters danced to life, reminding me why I do this, why I put myself through this process time and again.
And page by page I found myself falling in love with writing all over again. The infatuation of new love brewed in my veins. I stopped looking for reasons to put off getting up in the morning. It began to feel less like a chore, more like an adventure. I stopped asking myself what I would do if I never sold and started thinking in terms of when I did. I began looking ahead to the next set of revisions for Outlaw Bride with renewed enthusiasm, and became positively giddy at the prospect of starting the outline for Saving Grace.
And this morning as I stared at the marked up pages of revisions before me, I congratulated us on sticking it out when things got tough, knowing that in the end, going through this rough patch has only made us stronger. After all, no one said writing would be easy, did they? As often quoted, if writing was easy everyone would do it.