When I finished my last book, I immediately started on my next book. Even as I edited and polished, I moonlighted by writing down the entire plot for the next one. I could barely wait. I was Popeye. I opened a can of spinach that gave me boundless energy and strength. You should have seen my perpetually enormous forearms back then. I was going to write and write the hell out of that next book.
Only, I didn’t.
I thought about writing it. I researched it. I wrote a few pages, sketched a few characters. And then got really overwhelmed with the project. The timeline. The cultures. The language. The mores. One little piece sent me down a rabbit hole until I became stranded, mired in the research and how much I didn’t know.
I fell so far away from the main premise – the thing that fascinated me to begin with – that I didn’t even really recognize the story anymore. I didn’t “know” the characters and worse, I didn’t really care about them. We just never connected.
Still, for over a year, every weekend I would announce, “I am going to work on my book!” And then, I’d sputter out about 500 words and stop.
At night, after work, I’d make another announcement, and then I’d squeak and wheeze my way to 150 words and stop.
Some projects work out. Some don’t. It’s okay to let some go, put them up on the shelf for awhile, maybe forever. And maybe get started on something else.
In October, I officially gave up the book I couldn’t wait to write, and like the proverbial monkey off my back, I feel so much better.
Before the spinach ran out and my forearms went back to normal, before my writing muscle reverted to its normal size, before my phobia for blank, white pages and flashing cursors grew too great, I did write quite a bit. And rather than hide it up on the shelf, or lose it to my poor file management system (trust me, it’s a thing), I thought I’d share it – without context, without explanation. Without a beginning, a middle, or an end.
Perhaps you’ll do me the great favor and honor of creating those things as you go, which would be a lovely thing indeed for something that’s been shelved, ready to be lost and forgotten: a new life in someone else’s imagination.
And so tomorrow I’ll stick up the first installment here and we’ll see how far this little project goes.