The Honeymoon Phase

I hate writing, I love having written.   —Dorothy Parker

Every story, every book begins brilliantly. Words flow onto the page without effort and man, do they sing. This is the part of writing I love. The writing. The first echoes of what is taking up space in my head and begging to get on the page. This is the honeymoon phase.

The honeymoon phase is that time in your writing before it sucks, when you are in love with writing, in love with what you are working on, in love with your idea. It is blissful. It is short-lived. With short stories it seems to last as long as it takes me to get a first draft written. With my novel-in-progress it ended about halfway through the first draft. Sit with things too long and they lose their flavor. Familiarity and all that.

After the honeymoon, well, there is the assurance that you are a fraud and nobody, even your mother, will want to read the dreck that ended up on the page—and you have no idea how it did. This is most certainly not what you wrote. You have no idea where the hell that went, but it was so good. Somewhere in the night the writing faeries must have broken in to your computer and bolloxed everything up.

This is when it goes on the shelf. The drawer. That folder on your desktop full of wonderful beginnings gone wrong.

Then, when the proper time has passed (a few weeks for me), you open it again and find that the faeries have come back and it it’s not half bad if you do say so yourself. It’s not the masterpiece you wrote, but it’s a good start.

And then you get to work. The editing. The beta readers. The crushing doubt. In the end you won’t have a clue what you have, but there it is.

That’s this life.


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