It happened like this. Several months ago my new book idea and I started a relationship. I saw it from across the room and I had to introduce myself. We met for coffee and I fell pretty hard. Before I knew what was happening, I became obsessed. We spent every day together and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Spring turned into summer and as the heat, endless light, and unpredictable schedules began to distract me, something shifted. We saw each other less, then not at all.
To be honest, it started to annoy me. Little things like where was the plot actually going and why didn’t the characters seem as interesting as they did in the beginning? Were the themes too complicated or perhaps too simple? The glow faded and I began to feel lost. Then it was August. The kids were out of camp and I was full on mom. September came, though, as it always does. School started and my fall routine returned. As I prepared my courses and read instead of wrote, I thought a lot about the book that came before this new idea. That book had a clear beginning, middle, and end. Though I was revising it, that book had developed characters who still captivated me. It even had a contract. Could this new book idea ever mean as much to me as that other book?
I hadn’t spent time with the new manuscript in over a month. I felt guilty, disappointed with myself, mad that I could let a good thing go like that. But I kept avoiding it. What if all those passionate feelings were really gone? What if I had just been kidding myself?
Then one day, a rainy Monday of all days, a day when I had slept poorly the night before, when the kids grumbled about school as I gently pushed them out the door, after an annoying appointment, a few tedious errands, and some work emails, I decided to open my manuscript out of the blue. As soon as I began to read, I remembered what I loved about it. It was still beautiful to me, in its broken and raw sort of way. We started hanging out again. I think it might be serious.
This is my process. Sometimes I start “dating” a manuscript, wander away for a bit, and then when I return, the magic isn’t there at all, like how could I have ever thought this was a thing not there. It’s frustrating and sad when that happens, but I stay in the game because I know I’ll fall in love eventually. It’s happened before, and it will happen again.