When I made breakfast, I thought about the book. When I took a shower, I thought about the book. When I drove the kids to the park, yep, I thought about the book. I'd lay in bed for hours some nights, plotting and having conversations with the characters in my head. I'd sit up from a half-sleep and frantically scratch ideas on paper using only the insufficient light from my phone. Believe me, I have notes I can't even read, and the ones I can read are mostly nonsensical.
But I was completely in love with my project... I felt like a teenager again when everything was fresh and exciting. No matter how flawed my story might be, it was mine, and I was over the moon.
As time wore on and I made a genuine, till-death-do-us-part commitment, the glory began to fade. It wasn't because I'd lost interest in the project. It wasn't because something newer and more interesting came along. But now, the real work began.
Getting words on a page is the fun part. It isn't a struggle for me to come up with ideas or characters. The work is introducing those things in the way they deserve. We're a team, my story and I, and I want to be the best teammate I can for what's been given to me.
Instead of creating adventures, I found myself removing those things that didn't move the story forward. Plot holes here, irresolution there. I suddenly found I was patching up the relationship between my story and myself, and I didn't even know we were having problems.
According to the story, I wasn't devoting enough time to the characters' needs. Sometimes I took situations too lightly. I tried to work on it. But it's in my nature to make light of something that makes me uncomfortable. Apparently, my characters didn't like that. They wanted me to feel the things they felt so I could share that with the reader.
So, I adapted. I started listening and trying to be more understanding. I made sure to clean up my messes and take out the trash. I was more cognoscente of their plans when I made my own. Over time, our relationship began to flourish once more. Haven hit the shelves with a shiny new wedding band and all.
But I made a commitment to my writing a long time ago. I know I can't live happily without it. Writing has become a part of who I am and who I'll become. I may never be a J.K. Rowling of a success or a Tennyson of beautiful words, but I choose to love our relationship because it's ours. No one else has one like my writing and I do. For that reason, I can't let anyone else tell me how to manage it. I won't compare my relationship to the relationship of others, because no two are alike. When it comes to your writerly marriage, you find what dress fits YOU, because wearing someone else's just won't work.
A writing marriage, just like a real one, isn't always beautiful. You'll have up days and you'll have down. But just like a real marriage, you choose to make it work. The writing isn't going to bail on you, so the ball's in your court to maintain the passion. Ignore what others say unless it's helpful. Just remember, not everyone with an opinion is qualified to have one. Even crazies think they're right.
At the end of the day, it's just the two of you. Enjoy every heartache and every victory, because not only do you grow with each experience, so does your relationship.