You will be surprised at how many similarities there are between relationship heartbreak and shelving a half-finished draft.
Splitting up with the love of your life can be upsetting and leave you feeling crushed.
Stopping work on a draft novel because you can’t take it any further or because it’s a big pile of literary wrongs can also be distressing. Trust me – this can also leave you feeling shattered and miserable!
If you think about how much time we spend with our draft novels, its similar to being in a relationship. Thrown into this are all the emotions that go with writing a novel. So, when a draft novel doesn’t work out and we are forced to walk away, it can feel like the end of a relationship.
Here are those similarities:
- In both situations a dream has ended.
- With a heartbreak and shelving a half-finished novel you will find yourself crying like there is no tomorrow. You will cry at what you had (a relationship or 36k word draft thriller) and what you lost (a relationship which had marriage potential or a 36k word thriller which had bestseller potential at 2k words).
- Things you might say during a relationship heartbreak and in the middle of shelving a half-baked novel; we need a break from us, I need to find myself and I’m just not feeling it anymore.
- Both heartbreak and shelving a half-finished novel can bring on reclusive mourning. You don’t have the energy to tell friends you’re single again and you don’t feel up to telling writer friends you’ve ditched your 12k romance draft novel. Instead you withdraw from social media, take to the sofa and nurse yourself with some romcom films, wine and chocolate.
- You might struggle to talk about your relationship heartbreak and you might struggle to talk about the half-finished draft novel you shelved. People will want to understand why your relationship has gone down the pan and why your half-finished draft novel is stuffed in the bin. You will blink away stinging tears, try to swallow away a lump at the back of your throat and mumble ‘I knew it was too good to be true…I should have spotted the warning signs..after the first chapter!’
- You might blame others for your relationship heartbreak and you might blame others for your unfinished draft novel being ditched. The only little difference being that with a draft novel you will be blaming imaginary people for the downfall of your story.
- You might find yourself starting a rebound relationship after heartbreak and you might find yourself starting what I call a rebound story after shelving your draft novel. In the same way a rebound relationship makes you feel wanted and desirable again, a rebound story makes you feel creative, exciting and more importantly like J.K. Rowling again. You start these rebound stories with vigour, telling those around you that you are so over your half-finished binned draft novel. Sooner or later your emotions about your previous work catch up with you!
- After a relationship heartbreak it will feel like everyone around you is blissfully in love. You will feel like the only person in the world who is not holding hands, whispering naughty stuff into someone’s ear and dreaming of beautiful weddings. After shelving a half-finished novel it will also feel like everyone around you is having great successes with their work. You will feel like the only person in the world who is not organising a book launch, attracting the attention of a keen literary agent and charming an editor with beautiful prose.
- You might have to endure some painful reminders of your old relationship; spotting a photo on Instagram of you both in happier times or listening to a song being played on the radio which makes you remember special moments. You might also have to endure painful reminders of your old story; spotting an old blog post where you raved about your story idea or listening to a song from your draft novel playlist and welling up.
- In time things won’t feel so bad, you will put both down to a learning experience. You never know what might happen once emotions have calmed down and you have had some much-needed time apart…
Have a great day!