Thursday, June 23, 2011

Keeping the Love Alive...

Well, dear readers, today is a special day for this writer. Nine years ago, the man and I met, in person, for the first time. We'd met online and in phone calls for a few weeks before our first date but you know - as much as I love my online pals - meeting each other in our earthly forms is the date we remember!

The odd thing was that we weren't all that keen on first meeting. Both of us had a sort of 'lunch bag letdown' feeling. As in ' oh dang, nice person but no real fizz there - ah well, back to the drawing board'. Of course we didn't say that to each other - this came out later. We liked each other - don't get me wrong. I thought the future Sweet Patootie was a nice guy. He had a red truck and he liked to get out on the ocean and he read books but...no fireworks. 
Luckily, after years of looking, I didn't immediately give in to my feeling of ho humness. I had a little talk with myself, like I do, or like I did - now I have you all! I said to myself, 'Self - what has happened to the relationships where you did feel the immediate frisson? The fireworks? The flat out lust?' and then I answered myself, 'Self - those relationships were neurotic minefields of disaster. Fireworks are bright shiny and insubstantial. Their light doesn't warm it merely dazzles.'  And like that. So...me and the man had another date - one where we spent hours out in the bay in the canoe. I brought a lunch that he though pretty special and he made coffee on a rocky island about four feet wide and six feet long. I was duly impressed. We talked for a long time, him staring at my back and me at the view (the canoe!)  Even then, neither of us was over the moon. Just a wee bit more interested. And so it went. By August we were in love. And that seemed a long time.  Now, nine years have flown by and I am as mad for him as a gal could be. And we work to keep that love happening. So that is our sweet story.

But now for the Friday Challenge. How do you keep the love alive with your manuscript? I'll start this game off and then I want everyone who comments to add to the list.

1. Give it some attention. Your wip can sometimes be shy, nervous, or lacking in confidence. It is your job as the writer wooer to coax it out into the limelight. You can do that by paying it attention. Doesn't have to be a big deal - just spend some special time with it everyday. Ask it how it is going? What does it need?

2. Ignore it once in awhile. Seems like the opposite of #1 but it isn't really. Sometimes our wips get overwhelmed and need a little alone time. Let it sit by itself and ruminate on how lonely and unfulfilled it was before you waltzed into its life. Also, by giving it some time without you, you will begin to see its beauty and appreciate little details about it that you didn't before.

3. Surprise your wip from time to time by doing something it doesn't expect. Take another point of view or introduce a new character to its story-line. It will thank you for the zest and punch that will give it.

4. Be proud of your wip when you talk to others about it. Oh you don't have to give anything private away but speak kindly about it. Tell your friends that you are so glad to be in this relationship with it and that even though you have the occasional kinks to iron out, for the most part you are really happy with your wip. After all, you two chose each other - and it doesn't hurt to remember that when things get tough. And they will. Get. Tough.

5. Even though everyone has told you for years that writing is spontaneous and wild, remember that in a real long-term relationship, like the one you and your wip will have, the rituals and daily exchanges are the bedrock. And you have to plan to get together and spend that quality time. Make it a steady habit. Your love for each other will grow if you do. Trust me.

Now it is your turn...

20 comments:

Eve said...

Sometimes I hate my wip. I hate it so much that I do what you suggest in #2 and just ignore it. Then, after a while I start to miss it and I take a cautious peek at it. Just to check in and see how it's doing, and before I know it my wip and I are in the relationship that we have both come to love deep down.
Also, I keep a separate notebook with notes on how I'm feeling about each wip..ideas of what I can incorporate, or forget about, new directions etc..
Congrats to you and the man!

Arlee Bird said...

Do some new research to see what new dimensions I can add to the story or if perhaps I should take things in an unintended direction.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Faith Pray said...

Jan, such a great post! I love hearing about your courtship, the sparks and the slow burn. I don't even remember the first two times I met my Person, but he is stars and moon to me now! Your wip tips are perfect. I definitely needed to hear this.
For coaxing wip love: I keep a box of treasures or a wall of clippings that indulge my wip world: a silky ribbon that is just that coppery color of her hair, a photo of a lone wolf in the snow, a black feather, old air mail envelopes, beach glass, tangible things that transport me to my characters and settings at a glance.

NiaRaie said...

These are excellent tips although I often struggle with #4.(I'm getting there though!)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Sometimes I wish I was a novel writer instead of poetry, but I know one has to have the tenacity to carry on once started.
My poems on the other hand on based on life;s experiences so I know what is going to happen before I begin to write,

Enjoy the read very much.
Yvonne.

Words A Day said...

Great post, glad you went on that second date:)
I like your suggestions...,will be using them. One for me, would be to try and see your wip (or man) through fresh eyes as if you havent met before.
ps I love Faith Prays comment too about the box of tangible things, thats something i'd love to try.

Jan Morrison said...

Eve – I do have that feeling about my wip from time to time. I like the notebook thing too – I do it a bit but not faithfully enough.

Lee- I like this suggestion. We need to breath new life into our wips from time to time.

Faith – Thanks and I love this idea. I think I need to make a wip collage so I can remember various things. And I love the tangible part – so maybe not a collage but a miniature diorama. My friend K. and I used to make these boxes with weird things in them…we often talk about doing it again.

NiaRaie – I struggle with that too but I know that if I can be kind to others about my work, it will improve my work. Weird but true.

Yvonne – I think you could apply all of these despite that – you have a body of work that you have a relationship with and even if you know the event you will write about, I’m sure you are still surprised at where your mind takes you.

Niamh – I like this! I know that if I put my wip away to cool after a revision, when I get back I do feel mad for it again. For awhile.

Richard said...

I like your 5 recommendations. I guess they're sort of what I do without realizing it.

Rosalind Adam said...

That is so romantic, him talking to your back in a canoe, making coffee on a rock. I love your firework analogy. They can be extremely painful too if they're not handled very carefully. Good points re the wip too but I'm still thinking about you falling in love. Have a great anniversary.

http://rosalindadam.blogspot.com

Rae said...

A very sweet love story...
Every time I think of writing a short story or novel, I get a half chapter and then never go back to it.It's some block in my brain that won't let me get beyond a page or two. I definitely need help!

Karen Walker said...

Jan, I love the story about you and your man. I had a similar experience with my hubs. A small voice whispered, "give this one a chance," and boy am I glad I did. My prior relationships were disasters - the ones based on that frission. Thanks for sharing
Karen

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sweet story!
I've found I need to really plug away at my work, pouring a couple hours a day into the project, to remain passionate. Otherwise it's a struggle to find that again.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Many congratulations, Jan! I'd never thought of the relationship with my wip in those terms; which probably says a great deal.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Many congratulations, Jan! I'd never thought of the relationship with my wip in those terms; which probably says a great deal.

RosieC said...

Congratulations again, Jan. It's a very sweet story. Way to snatch up the guy who makes coffee within 20sq ft of rock :)

I think one thing that helps is to remember the past and see how much you've grown together. Sometimes I go back and look at old drafts to see what I'd done before. Most of the time, I'm glad we've moved forward and learned from each other, and left some of those old tidbits or habits behind. Sometimes I think, why did we stop using that? Can we use it again?

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Congratulations! Love that story...so sometimes we need to *make* the fireworks happen (and they can be the slow-burning kind...which might be even better!)

Love this analogy and totally agree... we need to *be there* for our book. :)

Jan Morrison said...

Richard – I think perhaps that is what we do and if we bring it into our awareness, we can remember to do the things that work more often and leave the other stuff behind.

Rosalind – it is romantic, isn’t it? We’re not doing anything special – having a few friends over tomorrow night…we’ll just snuggle tonight and watch a video series we’re caught up in.

Rae – thanks. I can’t imagine why – you’re an excellent writer. You’ll find a story and stick to it some day. I think perhaps you are more of a memoirist, no?

Karen – Yes, sometimes that small voice can’t be heard over the screams of the bossy voice but when we do hear it – wow.

Diane – yes, in the first heat I’m like that but then I remember that it needs me all the way through! I just got my edits back from the person who’s doing them and wowchimunga – have I some work to do!

Elspeth – oh, I don’t know. I’m sure I’ve seen a letter that you wrote to your wip? You know me – always with the weird metaphors…

Rosie – I like this idea – I’m definitely going to use that. Thanks…

Jan Morrison said...

Elizabeth - you snuck in there! Yes, slow burn. When I really think about it, the others were fireworks and SP is honey. Yep.

Julie Musil said...

I love your love story! Ok, I'll add to the fun. I'd say to appreciate the good in your wip, don't only focus on what needs to be changed.

Jan Morrison said...

Julie - I like this. So often we pick pick pick and then wonder why the love has died!