I started this blog for many reasons, but the main one was to improve and share my writing. Over the past year, it’s evolved into my own personal creative space, where I share everything from poems to my favorite names. I welcome anyone who wants to read my creative musings and/or comment upon them with open arms and hope you’ll share your thoughts with me in return. Part of the purpose of this blog however, has been purely personal. I’ve used it to log my progress on certain writing projects and record my own writing journey so I can one day look back on it. That’s kind of what the point of this post is, so if that doesn’t interest you, feel free to skip over it! But if you are a writer, and will find it helpful to hear about another writer’s creative process, hopefully you can take something from it.
I’ve mentioned in some past posts the novel that I’ve been working on for about a year. It has a working title, The Wives of Christopher Chatwin, and is a sweeping drama about a man’s life and the three different marriages he goes through. I got the idea for this book last year and have spent hours in character and plot development, and in writing bits and pieces of the narrative that I wasn’t quite sure where to fit. Because of the nature of this novel’s storyline, and because it spans so much time, I was constantly unsure of what parts I wanted to put where, which characters and plot points I wanted to emphasize, and even how/where I wanted it to end. I’ve worked on it for so long, that it’s started to become this muddled mess in my brain and I wasn’t even sure I saw the merits of it anymore. Sometimes when you spend so much time on one solitary project, you almost start to lose touch with your reasons for starting it in the first place.
This is the first book idea that I dedicated myself to as an adult. I wrote a lot of sweet, simplistic romances and things of a very wholesome nature as a teenager, and as this was the first idea that I had, developed and worked on in my adult life, I feel like I wanted to make the story itself more adult. To reflect the way my views on the world have changed, to represent aspects of life that are urgent, troubling and real. I wanted to use my own emotional experiences and draw upon my deep empathy for the experiences of others to tell a story that didn’t have as black and white a moral compass as everything I’d written in the past. To be clear, that’s not to say that the novel doesn’t have a moral, because it most definitely does. There is a clear message that I wanted my readers to take away from this messy, complicated story about humans and the nature of human relationships. I wrote characters that were deeply flawed, characters that I had some people tell me weren’t likable, and others tell me were somehow likable despite their obvious shortcomings. I wanted to tell the stories of people who didn’t do the right thing, who messed up and regretted it and tried to change. People who had brought deep pain upon themselves through making stupid choices. And the way that their stupid choices affected the people in their life who they loved. I wanted people to read this book and to understand that you never know the full story of someone’s life, and that even though certain decisions can never be taken back, there is always the possibility of changing your life.
I guess I’ve been going through life with an overly skeptical pair of eyes, suspicious of the stories that only tell you one side of them. I’ve been on the hunt for open minds and new perspectives, mistrusting of the simple, the pure and the wholesome. But this week as I lay in bed with open eyes at 2 am, unable to will myself to sleep, I thought of a little project I had started several years ago, and suddenly I couldn’t get it out of my head. I pulled out my old Google Doc and figuratively dusted it off, reading over the five short chapters I had written years ago, and something about it re-sparked my interest. I titled the novel Light My Sky. It’s what I would now classify as a historical YA romance (set in the 1960’s) about a girl who falls in love with a boy and with the world of books at the same time. Her love interest also happens to be blind. Something about this old idea reignited my excitement for writing again. Something about it’s wholesome charm made me think of my younger sister reading it, made me imagine myself reading it to my daughters one day. I felt like I was having a Jo March returning to her attic moment and I resolved I was going to come up with the whole plot of this novel, from beginning to end, and that I was going to write it.
My Jo March moment lasted me until about 3 pm the next day, when my sleep deprivation caught up with me right as I finished plotting out the storyline for Light My Sky. I want so badly to write and publish my first book. I want my words and characters and ideas to get out in the world where they can actually do some good, instead of just swimming around in my head with a rapidity that leaves me dizzy. I want some young girl to read my story and get momentarily transported into a world where things were simpler and sweeter. I want her to read it and believe that she’ll fall in love one day and that whatever emotions come with it, it will be worth it just for the way her heart will expand. I guess I want to write the kind of book I would have wanted to read at that age, want to write something lovely for the sake of loveliness, something pure. Maybe that’s the niche I’m meant to fill, because books like that aren’t written nowadays. They’re the kinds of books I loved to read in my childhood, and maybe what the world needs is less exposure of darkness, and more exposure to light.
That’s not to say I’m giving up completely on my other novel. I think there will come a time when I think about it at 2 am with a sudden flash of inspiration, will go searching through my old Google drives and suddenly know exactly what it needs to be polished up and presented to the world. But for now, I want to focus on writing the next lovely thing.