Realizing a truth is so much more potent than simply understanding it. ~Tshamis DurUlekin, Master of the Purple Tower
I was warned and thought I believed the warning. From my present perspective however, I have to admit that deep down in my muddy subconscious, I must have thought I was an exception. I must have…because I find I am in the very place I was warned I would end up if I did.
I cheated on my main manuscript and now, she and the manuscript I was seduced by have both left me.
Yes, I, who have suffered the pain of adultery in real life, subjected my manuscript to the same disrespect and hurt. The odd thing is, I wasn’t lured away by a, “Sexy next book.” My siren was the NaNoWriMo project. The rules of the project require starting a new manuscript, but starting a new manuscript while I was still involved with the old one was exactly what Heather Sellers warned not to do in chapter 20 “Sexy Next Book” of Chapter After Chapter.
Oh, I thought I had it all worked out. The Kevodron would be primary manuscript and Scions would be the work I had waiting in the wings. When The Kevodran was finished, I’d pickup where I’d left off with Scions. It would then be the primary manuscript. Then, at the next NaNo, while still working on Scions, I’d take a break, work up something new as a secondary project and then return to Scions when the NaNo was over and finish it off. It was such a pretty plan.
What is odd is I was not all that enamored with Scions of the Moon, my NaNo project, in the first place so I was constantly thinking about The Kevodran, my first love, even while dallying with Scions. A whole load o’guilt, oh yes.
When the month ended, I stopped writing on Scions nearly immediately, but when I turned back to The Kevodran, she had turned away from me. She was, and still is, pissed off and holding me at arms length. I can’t say I blame her, I mean damn, who wouldn’t?
Surfacing from the metaphor, I’m suffering from the “Creep”—just as Heather warned I would. Because I wasn’t fully committed to one idea, I had ceased to think about it, keep it in the forefront of my mind, meditating on the characters and plot, viewing all life through the lens of its reality. As a consequence, it has crept away. I opened up The Kevodran and it felt like I was suddenly looking up a very tall, very steep and rugged mountainside that I had to ascend to get back on top.
“So far,” I thought and I was instantly and totally drained of energy and I hadn’t even fingered a key.
I closed the document.
Thus, I haven’t written anything substantial or added anything to either of the manuscripts since the end of November, ’11. The end of semester, the holidays and HOL homework has demanded a significant portion of my attention, it is true, but the fact remains I have not returned to my 04:00 writing practice. I get up at that time, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not working on either manuscript. The truth is The Kevodran has crept away from me, hurt and disrespected and now, Scions, being left suddenly alone, has done the same and here I am once again writing about writing. Sigh.
I should have listened to Heather. I bloody well knew better! I should have taken Brandon Sanderson’s advice and done the NaNo as I know I should have—namely writing from Orja’s point-of-view—because that’s where I was, that’s where the fire was burning. Screw starting a new manuscript. One writer: one manuscript to the bitter end, baby.
Now that I realize my mistake, what do I do?
Obviously I need to make peace with one of the two manuscripts, reacquaint myself with its information, re-immerse myself into its mental reality—essentially, spend the time needed to get back into her good graces, long and arduous though it might be, and remain faithful to the end.
This situation begs the question, once again, concerning the nature of the writer’s life and how I am living it. I’m not going to revisit all the demands on my time like some jilted lover re-hashing with his friends, over and over again what happened as he works it out. I put myself on notice, once again however, that unless I can find a rhythm, a writing practice that I can consistently maintain, then all my efforts are wasted. A dreadful thought with sobering consequences.
Originally posted in The Salamander’s Quill 1.0 now deleted.
I am so sorry to hear that…especially as you are so far into the intial project. Actually, your post reminds me a bit of the section in On Writing where Stephen King talks about almost losing his way when writing The Stand: "I'm losing my book! Ah, shit, 500 pages and I'm losing my book! Condition Red!" Then one day the answer just came to him. Perhaps the answer is just doing some NaNo-style writing. You know, the butt-in-the-chair writing even if it sucks kind of writing, just to prime the pump again. When I was going back through my NaNo project and revising, I could see the sections where I was really struggling and they were TERRIBLE. Then it would take off and flow…I just had to get past that initial not having anything to write part. Don't give up on them. Your lady will make you work for it (men need a little punishment sometimes), but she'll have you back. 🙂