Why does working on the second draft of my book remind me of a relationship? And I don’t mean that in a Beyonce-Single-Ladies-carefree-dating-kind-of way. I’m talking about the awkward stage. Where you’ve been dating someone for a while, and it’s starting to feel like “work.”
It wasn’t always this way. When we were in the first draft stage of our relationship, it was organic and stress-free. Things seemed to click. Sure, there were a few hiccups. But nothing that we couldn’t get over. The more time I spent with it, the more I liked it—especially because it made me laugh.
I’d lose track of time when I was writing it. There were late nights and early mornings. I daydreamed of what the cover would look like when it was published. I even made a mock-up of it in Microsoft Word. I know, I know I was gettin’ all carried away. Silly me. But what can I say? I was excited about it. Vested. Committed.
Now that we’ve passed the first draft phase, and we’re now into the second draft, things are more complicated. I’m really starting to notice the quirks. Like, I’m not sure if it’s as funny as I thought. We don’t spend as much time together as we used to, either. Sometimes, I’ll go a whole day without being in contact. And when I do spend time with it, I’m picking it apart, examining the flaws, trying to fix them, make it better.
I compare it to published books, and I wonder if it’ll measure up. Worse yet, my mind has started to wander. I think about other story ideas, and how much easier it would be to start from scratch, a blank page. That’s where the thrill is, when you’re still trying to figure it out, the plot’s turning points, the characters’ motivations. Discovery is exciting. After that, it starts to feel like…work.
I’m too far into this manuscript to give up now, though. As I rewrite the first few chapters, I’m realizing that the foundation is there. The dialogue still makes me laugh, and I find that I still enjoy reading it. Sure, some things are being fine-tuned, but that’s part of the process. I’m too far along to turn back now. I think I’ve got a good thing going, and I’m not going to give it up.