Friday, May 1, 2009

Loose ends-- the emotional trajectory of novel writing

I wonder if a shrink has ever explored the connection between the emotional life of a writer and the emotional lives of couples. What I've learned about people's behavior in intimate relationships seems to me similar to how I feel about the book sometimes.

Not that I'm "married" to the book, but, yeah, kinda.

The similarity I'm seeing now is that I miss it when it's gone and I take it for granted when it's here. I'm dependent on it in many ways. (Presumably, it doesn't miss me back.)

By "gone," I'm referring to the period I'm in now where I'm not working on it while I wait for my readers. (I could work on it, but as I've discussed before, I made a strategic decision to take a break and not have a new draft going until I get all the comments back in.)

I really don't like this period. I'm at loose ends. I can't concentrate on anything else. I can't take advantage the time to enjoy other interests. It's like when my wife is out of town for work. She encourages me to enjoy the time apart, but I just end up grossing myself out with too much take out pizza and dumb movies she wouldn't she watch with me, waiting impatiently for her to come home.

The long process of working on a novel has these different emotional spaces. Some brief joyful periods when you're in the groove. Some long periods when you're just head down and working away without noticing anything else. And some periods where it's like you're sitting on a bench in a noisy downmarket shopping center waiting for something to happen so you can get on with life.

1 comment:

Davin Malasarn said...

I completely agree with you. The separation time is hard. I've worked out an elaborate scheme to start working on my next book before I finish my first book. Then I can be obsessed with my new lover while my old one is off on a business trip.