Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Writing 101: The Book That Breaks Your Heart

Writing books is a stressful and overwhelming experience, but at the end of the project it fills you with a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Writing books can even be fun...until you write the book that breaks your heart. Maybe it doesn’t happen to all authors, but it did happen to me. Maybe it’ll happen to you, too.


Just Me and My Shadow


In looking back through the blog, you will find that I actually mention this book a lot. I'm being honest when I say I can't get over it; I still think about it all the time. I wrote it some years ago and loved it too well. There's much more to the story, but the point of it is that this book gave me writer's block for an inordinately long amount of time. I put it away and tried to forget it. I got it back out and re-read it. I thought that would help me get it out of my system. It didn't. I’ve read it since. I still feel the heartbreak when that book, somehow, gets brought into the conversation.

It is possible to put too much of yourself into a book, to allow yourself to have too many dreams about it. This is something that happens to artists of all kinds. They say that Leonardo da Vinci was obsessed with the Mona Lisa, and dragged it around with him for years. Walt Whitman wrote an inordinate amount of drafts of “Leaves of Grass,” and still felt it was unfinished when it went to print. So it does happen. It is possible to lose your heart to your own creation. Haven’t other authors written books about that very thing already?

The point is, I don’t think you ever really get over a heartbreak like that. I haven’t. But even when you truly love another, you can still write books. You can still create new stories. You can survive with a broken heart, and maybe even use it to write better books in the future.

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