I recently finished writing my novel. I suppose “finished” is a relative term. No doubt there will be rewrites in the weeks ahead. But for now, it’s just the two of us. I like to cuddle with my novel at night, laying gentle kisses across its pages and whispering, “You complete me.”
Okay, I’m exaggerating. But the truth is that I’ve become emotionally attached to my book. I spent a lot of one-on-one time with it over the past four years. I came to care deeply about the characters and story. I thought about the book. All. The. Fricking. Time. Now that I’m done, I can’t stop going back to it. That ending? Perfection. That bit of dialogue in Chapter 8? Stunning. And don’t get me started on that simile on page 44. No one has ever described acne so profoundly.
The problem with all this is that it prevents me from seeing my book objectively. I’m too attached. Too proud that I actually wrote the damn thing. Eventually, I’ll have to emotionally detach myself from the book. I’ll need to second-guess my creative decisions. Turn a critical eye towards it. I’ll have to pay attention to what other people think – the good and the bad.
In other words, I’ll have to break up with my book. That’s the only way I’ll be able to gain perspective on its strengths and weaknesses. I’ll need to get my ego out of the way so that my book can take on a life of its own – independent of me. (I’m already getting misty.)
Writing a book is a huge accomplishment. So don’t deny yourself a little love affair. Bask in the afterglow. Go for long walks together on the beach. Spoon. Just remember that, at some point down the road, the honeymoon will have to end.
That doesn’t mean you can’t love your book. It just means you can’t be in love with your book. Understanding the difference will help you take your writing to the next level.