“When a writer talks about his work, he’s talking about a love affair.”
No, not with someone tall, dark, and handsome (although I am quite ready at this point for all the Prince Charmings to find their way off whatever deserted island they appear to be hunkered down on). I’m actually talking about my new manuscript, which I was so, so excited to jump into last Friday. I’ve been looking forward to writing the sequel to Reflections of Me ever since I wrote the final word on the final page of the original. I wasn’t finished with those characters yet. Or, perhaps it would be more fitting to say, they weren’t finished with me yet. As I realize all over again with each project, it is a truly special thing when you let them – and their journeys – lead the way.
It’s a bit different this time since I already feel like the cast of characters is comprised of old friends. I spent just over two months writing their first story, but between brainstorming, plotting, editing, revising, and querying, they’ve lived inside my head and heart for much longer. And now I get to bring them out again, to travel along as their story continues to unfold. Know what that makes me? Lucky. So unbelievably, indescribably lucky. In a way, it’s like coming home. I’ve missed those characters so much these past few months, more than I even realized until I started writing about them again. Brainstorming was fun. Color-coding character sketches was fun. Developing a loose outline – one that’s already curving to fit in new ideas – was fun. But sitting down at the computer and finally, finally, finally letting the words to their story flow again? Priceless.
It’s been a very reaffirming experience. I’m just under 14,000 words in at this point, but already I can see the possibilities opening up before my eyes. I have glimpses not only of where Sofie and the other characters are now, but where they’ll be fifty, a hundred, two hundred pages from now. That writer’s part of my brain is just bursting with inspiration and joy, and it feels good, so good to get swept up in the magic of writing again. I’m not going to lie, the querying rollercoaster has been especially emotional lately. Last week was both the most hopeful and most disappointed I’ve ever been. I could have let it break me, I could have let it completely dampen my spirit, but I refused. Instead, I took some time to let myself feel the heartbreak (I know that might sound like an exaggeration, but this book, this journey, this dream, they’re so important to me that that’s what it felt like) and then I moved on and moved forward. I sat down, skimmed through all the notes in my writing journal, opened that blank page on the computer, and wrote.
And wrote. And wrote some more. Take today, for instance. I sat down with the intent of writing my usual amount, which equates to four or five pages and about fifteen hundred words. Two hours later, I took a breather and realized I had twenty-seven hundred words that spanned eight pages. Oops? This is why I adore writing, though. Getting lost in the words and their magic, getting so immersed in your characters’ lives that you completely lose track of your own, it’s the most invigorating feeling. It doesn’t matter how many times I experience it, it still sends that same starburst of inspiration exploding along my veins. I love it. I love this. And I love it far too much to ever stop. E-V-E-R.
This week it’s been back to writing, back to daydreaming (why is it that story ideas ALWAYS come to you when you’re unable to jot them down, like when you’re driving? I may or may not have pulled over on a Starbucks’ parking lot the other day to grab my notepad … and then I may or may not have had to buy one of their amazing double chocolate chip frappuccinos since, hey, I was already there), and back to querying. My spirit is refreshed and rejuvenated, and I’m more determined than ever. Jumping into this new book – all its joys and all the challenges that come from tackling a very different writing format that I’m used to – it’s been so wonderful. I believe in pushing myself as a writer, in growing with every project, and I’m excited to see how that continues to unfold with this one.
Never mind the fact that I also may or may not have slammed my wrist into my laptop in a writing frenzy and ended up with a lovely dime-sized bump to prove it. Occupational hazard? I’ll take it. In fact, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.