Is This a Breakthrough?

I haven’t wanted to write since last November. In fact, I felt so disconnected from the craft that I decided to give up on it. However, I’m involved in an anthology and the story to be included in that [strong]must[/strong] be edited.

Last weekend, I sat in front of my computer – on one screen was my manuscript awaiting changes, on another was the document the editor had sent me. I spent the better part of an hour switching between the two, but not actually doing anything. Then I decided that it had been a long time since I wrote the short story and I no longer had a clear understanding of what was happening, so I read it (yes, I should have done that at the beginning, I know).

Having read the story, I felt a bit better. I now remembered the issues I had with the story and reading through the editor’s comments I could tell those issues were a problem for her too. Surprisingly, I decided to rewrite the beginning. I say “surprisingly” because this is the last thing I expected to do. I really wanted to make the required changes quickly and email the thing back to the editor. You know, get rid of it and the responsibility. But…here I was thinking about what was wrong with the story and wanting to make it better. This doesn’t sound like a non-writer to me.

I think it took me four days to write eight double spaced pages. I admit that it was extremely hard – almost like trying to pull my own teeth out. I had to force myself to sit down and open the document. I found it hard to concentrate. I worried about the quality of my words. However, I did it because to [strong]not[/strong] do so would have let so many other writers down. I didn’t want that.

Once the beginning had been rewritten, I continued on with the rest of the story. It has been very slow going, but I’m getting there. Last night, I made myself open the document, I procrastinated for a while and did everything and anything else for about half an hour (mainly listening to some music; thankfully, the computer is not connected to the internet) and then I turned my mind to the edit. At first, my mind stubbornly groaned and grunted at every word I looked at or tried to write, but then something extraordinary happened…I lost myself in the story!

That hasn’t happened to me for so long.

When someone knocked on the door, pulling me out of the scene I was working on, I felt two things – joy at the fact that I didn’t even know what had happened or how much time had passed, and, disappointment that it was over. For the first time in a very long time, I was willing to sit in that chair and work quietly into the wee hours of the night.

It was late and I had to get up early to go to work, so I went to bed. I slept soundly for four hours. Then I woke up and found myself thinking about the story, the characters and the scene I was working on. And then, I actually thought about getting out of bed and turning on the computer. At 3.30am! I didn’t do it, but I can’t believe I even gave it a serious thought.

Now that is what writing should be like. It’s something that has been missing for me. I hope this isn’t an isolated incident.