I cheated today. I’m not proud to admit it, but confession is good for the soul, so here goes.
It was getting late in the afternoon and I hadn’t written yet. I was at risk of not hitting my NaNo word count for the day. Truth be told, the last few days I’ve been limping along, slogging through the gooey middle of a book I love. Or used to love. I was so uninspired by the idea of writing yet another tortured thousand words. I read a little to get distracted. I’m reading To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, distinctly lighter YA than I normally read (and write). It’s charming and I’m having fun with it.
And then it occurred to me. On my big, long list of projects to work on is one lighter YA project. No one dies, gets deported or get kidnapped and taken to another country. It’s just a breezy story about being in high school and finding the courage to do something kind of fun/cool/bold. It’s a buddy film but in YA book form. It’s two books down on my list of to-writes from the one I am currently writing.
I’d left my laptop upstairs, probably in a subconscious attempt to avoid writing. Because here’s the thing: books are like relationships. Writing a book can be so great in the beginning. You’re nothing but hot for a new book. You can’t stay away. Everything about it charms you at the start. It makes you laugh. It makes you feel smart and funny. Then, time passes and you begin to see its flaws. Things get hard. It disappoints you. You’re disappointed in yourself, the person you are around it. It mirrors back your limitations. Writing a book hits the 7-year-itch right around the 50% mark, which is exactly where I am on this project.
And that’s when the urge to cheat hits.
So, yes, friends, I cheated on my book today. With another book. A sexier, younger, newer model, one with whom I don’t have so much history and baggage. The writing came effortlessly, pouring out of me right into the Notes app on my phone. It just made me feel good and I was able to escape the boring, hard day-to-day that is commitment to a book long term. I wrote two chapters and got my word count done easily, without frustration and hard work. It was just pure fun.
I had a fling. And I liked it. So I guess I’m not just a cheater, but an incorrigible, unrepentant one. The good news is that books, unlike humans, don’t get their feelings hurt when you step out on them. They just sit there, waiting. If you never finish writing them, no one gets hurt but you.