Old friends

I think the worst thing about not writing for a long time is that you get out of touch with your book. You have to reacquaint yourself with your timelines, your plot, and your research, and just hope that you still like how it all looks. 

There is a moment of fear when you first sit down to write after a long absence, and you don't know what to do. You look at your last sentence, and realize that you have no idea what is going on, and you feel like the worst parent/writer in the world. 

Worry, because what if this isn't your book anymore. What if you don't like it. What if you no longer love these characters. What if you were away so long because the book just hasn't got your interest anymore. What if you can't just keep writing.

It's like seeing someone who you used to be good friends with, before you grew apart and stopped talking. It's slightly awkward, and you realize that you remembered them as something different from what they are now. They surprise you with all the ways they have been changing, while you were half asleep or staring at a wall. 

Reading back through everything you have written so far, cringing and smiling, and every now and then forgetting that this was your own work. 

And relief, because yes, this is still yours. Yes, you still belong with this book. You still love these characters. And the greatest part of all, you realize, reading through it almost with the eye of a stranger, that it isn't that bad. There are typos, and errors, and things that you are going to change. Cringy moments (so many) and parts that make you wonder if you can ever write anything well. 

But overall, as you were reading, it felt like a book. A book that you would read. And when it stopped, you weren't bored or disgusted. You wanted more. You wanted to finish the story. 

So you start to write, oh so slowly. Stopping so often to go check something. Re-learn things you once knew by heart. Re-read all the random historical information you had gathered, and remember that you love it. 

Write in a frenzy for a couple days, and slowly peter off. But this time, you aren't stopping because you are beginning to be too busy. You're stopping because school is almost over. You need to finish it, and finish fast. Because you have a book to write. 

And for some reason, you feel that this time you won't lose touch again. And who knows. Maybe you will. Maybe you won't. Maybe this is just another summer of writing, followed by a year of guilty forgetfulness and the feeling of failure. 

But this draft is different. This is the only draft you have ever liked. This is the only draft that has felt like your book. Something you needed to write, and not some pathetic attempt at "writing" for the sake of saying you did. This is the only draft that you loved so much you couldn't bear the thought of ever giving it up. 

So maybe, just maybe, this time will be different. 

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Come chat about The Silmarillion with me: 

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