So, you are back for more are you? Ready to move onto Part 2 of why I consider the mechanics of writing super similar to a relationship? That's good. Buckle your seatbelts, put your trays in the upright and locked postion and LET'S GO!
Stage Three: Marriage
Subheading: The Honeymoon Stage
So now you’re hitched, you’ve found your creativity muse, you’ve outlined (or not) All your characters and settings are in place and now, you write. During the honeymoon stage, just like in the real relationship stage, you just can’t live without your novel. You spend every waking moment thinking about it, drooling over the words you just wrote, anticipating your characters next moves and you just can’t leave. The thought of having to go to work, school or the grocery store and leave behind your love makes you feel sick to your stomach. And when you are forced to spend time apart, your novel is never far from your mind, you tweet and Facebook about your writing just to fill that void. Even when you are together, you find yourself thinking, just one more paragraph, then I’ll quit for the night, just one more sentence and I’ll do the laundry, just one more word and I’ll do the dishes.
This can make many outsiders sick to their stomachs. This stage can be overwhelming, you may find that others just don’t understand your need to keep writing, to keep talking, to keep close to home, your laptop and your hot-sexy doctor. The connection with your novel is still new, you find it an effortless task to toss out a thousand words in a short period of time, because you’re just so in love. And of course, others want what they don’t have. Your new novel love, eagerness to write and your never ending drive can make people on the outside jealous (sometimes) but sadly, this stage often doesn’t last forever. Of course there are exceptions (and I could just be rambling and not know anything) some marriages both with a novel and partner can hold onto this honeymoon stage right until THE END. Of course if this is you and your novel you are lucky. Sometimes you just have to move on to the next stage if you can’t stay in honeymoon bliss forever...
Subheading: The Rut
Now if you’re lucky enough to have hung onto the honeymoon stage until they end-- kudos to you. It happens, I’ve done it. Sometimes you’ve connected with your novel (or partner) so deeply that you can sail on through until your novel is complete--sometimes not. And this is currently the stage I’m in.
I’ve outlived the honeymoon stage, the need and want to keep writing has just been lost along the way. My characters, my idea, my novel are still important to me, but now, because of the rut it feels like work. Writing, often times just shouldn’t feel like work. When that happens, you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere, and you risk hurting your novel relationship.
This can become a problem in many ways, and the solution is different for everyone. Sometimes you need to go back, find out when things changed and try and work through the problem. Other times you might need to highlight obscene amounts of words and delete them. But the main thing is overcoming this stage.
I’ve gone back to outlining with the same idea, characters and setting (no cheating!) Just figuring out if they can take a different path, maybe spice things up with a new plot point or give them a new ending to work towards can help. These changes can make a world of difference and you can push through the rut and get back into it, reenergize the love you once shared.
Friends sometimes are just what the doctor ordered. Supporting characters can help in a few ways, both in a relationship and in a novel. They can give you a new outlook on the situation and task at hand, they can be supportive and helpful in solving solutions (a shoulder to cry on) or sometimes they can steal the spotlight (more on this later) but you may find that with some help, a few new points and you can move past the rut and make it to the end.
Take a break, sometimes you just need to walk away—for a little while. It happens in relationships too. People often times take trips without their partners or have trial separations just to take a step back, assess the situation and of course remember why they fell in love in the first place. That goes for novels too. Sometimes a break can separate you from your characters, their problems and the rut long enough to miss them and realize that you just can’t live without the story you’ve set out to create. You can come back rested, clear headed and ready to work your characters through the novel and get to the end.
Now, if you can move past the rut, most often do you find yourself back at the honeymoon stage. You’ve worked through the problem, learned from your mistakes—so to speak, and you have a new outlook on love and your novel. You remember what it was like to be newly married and newly connected to your story and you realize how much you’ve missed that. This can propel you to the end of your novel and the success of completing it.
You also might find that you end up back into a rut. You can choose to repeat the lessons you learned, work through it and push forward. Some relationships bounce back and forth from honeymoon stage to rut and back again. If you love your novel, you can work things out, and make it to the end even if things are bumpy, then do that.
But sometimes you find the rut is too big to overcome, and then, you have a choice to make which leads us into the fourth and final stage...
Please stay tuned for the fourth and final stage of Writing is Like a Relationship (kind of :)