About a hundred years ago, I was in fourth year university, working on my thesis. One particularly deflating day, I left my advisor’s office close to tears wondering how I was going to find it in me to fix the problems she’d pointed out. I remember how I had miserably whined to her, “You practically want me to start over.” She didn’t let me off the hook.
A few weeks later I was back in her office, thesis re-written. She gave me the thumbs up that I was almost ready to defend it. I’ll never forget her encouragement, “You were so worried about re-writing it, but you did it. Was that so bad?” In reality, the thought of it was much worse than actually digging in and doing it.
My life this past year has had a lot of starting over. Professionally I took a leap of faith that hasn’t quite turned out the way I thought, but now I have an opportunity I thought I’d have to wait years for. Personally, I’m starting over on a few goals that have been dogging me for years. This is my year not to give up on me. And then there’s writing.
After taking a bit of break from blogging and writing, I’m back, and, I am starting over. Over the last few weeks, I have been working through the mechanics of writing, character development and story structure. I had to admit that my beautifully crafted treatment, was boring and soulless. A great big yawn.
At first, my stomach dropped. I got that mildly throw uppy feeling. My face twitched a bit. In that moment, I had a choice to make. I could go all Hulk and throw my notebook across the room and yell, “I don’t want to play anymore” and give up, or I could get to work. I decided to keep Smash Etta at bay. I’ve learned it’s much more productive to get excited about the possibilities than to mourn what didn’t work out.
Besides, writing is like a constant exercise in starting over. If I can’t handle that truth, I need to put down the pen and step away.
The thought of starting over is a bit like having a big white wall to climb, but it doesn’t have to be terrifying. I don’t have to do it without ropes and steps – that’s what planning is about. It won’t be easy, but it really isn’t impossible. And, unlike any other part of life, on the page, I can take insane risks and really let loose, without worrying about the consequences. Giuliana is going on some adventures, some of which may actually make it to the finished product.