It all began a couple weeks ago when my Sequel From Hell™ for the Morton’s Pointe gang reared up its head and started begging for me to pay attention to it again…for the umpteenth time in five years. It’s the story that refused to die. Which seems to be a good thing as I finally, FINALLY finished it earlier this week. Beginning, middle, and END (with a few gappy bits in between). The never to be finished story and been finished. Of course there’s the revision/rewriting process, etc. Some stories aren’t meant to be finished…and some are. Those are the ones that just won’t die, no matter how many times you set them aside and say, “You are dead to me, Story, begone!” You just never know.
I think part of what helped keep me forging ahead this time was this nifty little blog post that our too busy cohort Scarlett linked to us. More often than not, that’s what it comes down to. When the muse peters out and you sit there wondering what the hell you were thinking… Fuck ‘em. Your biggest enemy is that doubting voice in your head that says you’re a fool for thinking anyone would ever want to read the words you’ve written. Do you even want to read those words?
And it’s even more discouraging when you have actually published stuff and find that the stories and the characters you love…few people seem to care. You get lucky with one story, then every other one you put out there, well, you’re lucky to fuel your Starbucks habit with them. It’s so easy to get caught up in that, to try to find that formula that gets you the royalty check that makes you giddy when you open it.
But it can’t be about the money. It can’t be about readers. It’s ultimately about the love between you and your creation. Fuck everything else. If you don’t love it, if there’s no joy in it for you…then fuck it. Don’t be afraid of writing the story that no one else will read. If you want to read it and, therefore, write it, then nothing else matters. If the story just won’t die, be it on its first version or tenth, keep going. Clearly something inside of you wants to see this done.
Some stories aren’t meant to be finished. That’s okay, too. You can’t be afraid to move onto something new either. But sometimes, you just have to buckle down and finished that one story that’s been hanging over your head for years in order to be truly free. And let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than finishing something you never, ever, EVER thought you would.
And in the midst of all my tribulations these past couple weeks with the Sequel From Hell™, I seem to have motivated Grey to take down her own WIP albatross that’s been hanging around her neck for far too long. *cheers* It’s those little things that make it worthwhile.
So, lessons learned: Not every story is meant to be. Then again, some stories you just have to plow through and finish because otherwise they will hang over your head and drag you down until you feel like an utter failure and why the fuck do you bother anyway. Every so often you get a story that just seems to click, everything falls into place and the words just flow.
When it’s easy, there’s no higher high. When it’s hard, there’s no lower low. But easy or hard, when you finish…it always feels fucking fantastic.