What ifs are part and parcel of being a writer. Anything and everything from a person, place or thing, can trigger a ‘what if’ moment. This is where an idea as small and insignificant as a grain of sand grows and blossoms into a full-fledged novel.
It’s these early, exhilarating days of the ‘what if’ process that inspires an author to devote months at a keyboard and write the story. Regardless of what goes on in the real world, a writer writes. Right?
Sometimes circumstances go from bad to worse. Stuff and life, after all, happens. What if the turmoil, hubbub, and hysteria surrounding an author becomes too much and they’re unable to cope?
I can only answer for myself. For this writer, the creative impulse withers and dies.
But what about deadlines?
Before getting published I vowed I’d never miss a deadline. I couldn’t imagine a what-if situation where that could ever happen. Ha! Was I wrong! I’ve not only missed a deadline, I missed repeated deadlines. Two years have zipped by since my last release.
What’s truly surprising is that I somehow managed to write at all. I wrote blog posts, participated in blog tours, hung out on Facebook and did what ever I could to promote my books. I also wrote more than fifty thousand words of book two of the Piedmont Island Trilogy series. All that’s required to finish it are two chapters. Two more chapters! Unfortunately, I can’t bring myself to complete OR submit this story.
I associate this fictional world with a very difficult and painful period in my real life.
Thankfully, the situation is resolved and settled. :) I'm delighted to say the creative juices are once again flowing and the what-ifs have returned with a vengeance. The most significant flurry of ‘what if’ activity, however, caught me off guard. What if I started over? What if I abandoned that 50K manuscript and just rewrote the story from scratch? What if I used the same names, setting, and basic premise, but made it better not only for the reader BUT FOR ME?
The decision to do just that has been liberating. The story feels right. There is a vibrancy and legitimacy to this story that did not exist in the previous manuscript. I wake up every morning feeling refreshed, and energized. I can’t wait to rush to the keyboard to see what happens next. I couldn’t be happier.
Here's a final what-if to ponder. What if what doesn’t kill us, makes us better writers?
Now, that’s a ‘what if’ I can live with!
Until next time, happy writing!