Monday, August 22, 2011

The Ones That Got Away

Sometimes, writing is like dating.

An idea hits you. You find it interesting, intriguing maybe. You sit down and you explore it a little. You're liking it more and more. You spend more and more time with it. At moments you feel infatuated, obsessed. At moments you even feel...dare I say love.

In the middle of all these feelings of euphoria, you have some moments of doubt. Sometimes, you examine things closer and question bits and pieces of your newfound love. Sometimes, you even question your entire relationship. What were you thinking? And where your friends throughout all this to talk you out of such a bad idea?

Sometimes, you have to leave for a little while, let something go, only to find that you'll come back to it with a fresh perspective. You'll find a way to make it work. You'll complete it and, in the end, you'll end up with something that will be a part of you forever.

And, sometimes, you realize you have to let things go entirely. No matter what your initial interest, or your little moments of excitement, it's just never going to work out. This was not a story you were ever meant to write. It hurts, letting go of something that consumed your time and energy for so long. But, often, it's for the best.

I have a graveyard of writing projects on my hard drive. Some are completed works, destined to never see the light of day. Others are fragments, pages of a characters' thoughts, a dozen chapters of a story that never really took off. Whenever I happen across them, it tends to bring a wistful smile to my face. It turns out even the broken ones, the irreparable ones, they're all a little part of me, too. They may not be as important or as life-changing as the few that have emerged on the other side, but still. I've learned a little something from each and every one.

Of course, whenever I start a new project, I can't help but wonder: which side of the divide will this fall on? A soulmate or a never-meant-to-be?

Do you have a project graveyard? Are there any that really broke your heart because they didn't work out?


  1. Lovely post, Sarvenaz. No writing is wasted if you learn something from it, but yeah, sometimes that's a hard pill to swallow when you have high hopes for a project.

    I have a large graveyard of false starts, half-finished projects and manuscripts that have been finished but not shopped, and even several that did get shopped but never sold.

    Some dead manuscripts are better off locked in the crypt and others may end up being zombies - to be resurrected at another time. But yes, there two in particular that didn't find homes that are still haunting me from their (albeit shallow) graves.

  2. I am on the first book I attempted to write…
    I never read a thing, or even wanted to write a single page letter to a friend, the best I attempt I made to writing (before my novel) was a three paragraph poem to my wife on her flower card.

    That all changed with a dream I had for weeks straight, I decided to sit down ad try to write… after 20 pages of the story streaming across my mind, without effort or fear, I knew I was meant to write.

    The sad part was, I didn’t have any skills or background of any kind to write. My journey has been long (and I am still learning and growing) but writing is the first thing I have ever done, that I felt like I was born to do it.

    I went on a bit of a rant there… nice post.

  3. That's awesome, Jeff. And it's not sad that you haven't done it before. It's great that you recognize your passion for it and that you're seeking to better your craft!