Today I burned my manuscript. I literally took the hard copy, stood in the Autumn rain, chucked it in with the coals and set it to flame. It was liberating. Standing there watching the fire catch and the words turn to ash, I was freed. Freed from the harsh parameters that I set for myself when I began, and freed from the assault, self-inflicted assault as I fought to put the story to words and force it to become the tale I know so well. Now, I’m not crazy. I have the notes, the research, and a jump drive copy stashed away. It isn’t gone. What it is though, is a blank page to tell the story as it’s telling itself to me.
I have struggled with the telling for weeks, endless weeks, trying to force the tale into the paradigm I created when I took it on. The feelings of anguish and abuse as I tried to make the story fit words that were not quite right is gone. The notion of the characters beating me up as they club me about the head to get it right, gone. I enjoy a bit of domination and bondage as much as the next, but the characters were deigning my demise as I fought to tell the tale with words that were not theirs. I was not being true to the story, and I felt it with every keystroke.
I am not a great writer. Yet. I am however a good writer, in my not so humble opinion, and I think it takes a good writer to step back and look from the outside in at the words and say, “This is not right. It is not what I set out to do. I cannot salvage this story telling it this way and have it be the great tale that it is.” I am a good writer. I know the story by heart and can tell it as it should be, just not from the place I was.
So, as I sit here on a dreary rainy equinox morn, counting my blessings and embracing the dark half of the year to come I realized that my tale needed something I was not giving it. With the bounty I have been given, it will take the dark to shine light to what should be. What could be. And, what will be everything I dreamed it to become as I put away my ego and let the story be told thru me as the characters tell it, not as I ascribe the better way to be.