By: T.H. Mafi
there you are, just staring at your computer or eating your carnival corndog or spacing out in the middle of a conversation when it hits you. A SHINY NEW IDEA. it’s beautiful and original and nothing like the rest of them and for a perfect moment you can already see your future together. you know you have to have it before someone else does and your next move is going to be critical. luckily, enough people commented on your blog today that you’re feeling confident. extra-attractive. you decide to make it yours.
everything is surreal. you can’t stop thinking about it no matter how hard you try and let’s be honest – you don’t really want to. you’re convinced that this time everything is going to be different. this is The One. the one that’s going to make agents cry over you, editors throw money at you, bestseller lists around the world make room for you at the top. maybe you have a title already? maybe you’ve even written a really excellent first paragraph? you don’t care. none of that matters. the only thing that really matters is Oprah is going off the air. she has no idea how much you were looking forward to that interview.
things are still pretty good. you’ve told Facebook and Twitter and the only five friends you know in the real world that you’re writing a new book and people seem moderately interested which is already better than last time. you haven’t really started writing yet, but you will. in fact, you’ve already got the first chapter written! and the more you read it, the more you’re convinced you’ve never written anything quite as incredible. you can’t wait to dive into the story! SERIOUSLY. you can just feeeeeel how amazing this is going to be. maybe you should buy a new outfit to celebrate.
well! you’ve written a few chapters! but GOSH you are just so BUSY these days and the kids are so CRAZY and work is just HECTIC and you’ve discovered all these really awesome websites recently and it’s now become a “thing” of yours to refresh your email and update your Twitter and “Like” at least five things on Facebook before you open up that Word Document. but it’s not like you’re avoiding it or anything! it’s just — you’re having a bit of a rough patch! but you’ll work through it! you’ll figure out this plot twist! well, first you’ll figure out a plot but then! then things will work out! you just need to find a way to communicate your needs! relationships are ALL ABOUT DIALOGUE!
WELL MAYBE IF YOU WEREN’T SO DAMN NEEDY I WOULD PAY MORE ATTENTION TO YOU! DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT? DID YOU EVER THINK THAT MAYBE I HAVE TO PAY THE BILLS AROUND HERE AND MAYBE I CAN’T SPEND EVERY FREE MOMENT OF MY LIFE STROKING YOUR FREAKING EGO AND MAYBE YOU SHOULD JUST WRITE YOURSELF ALREADY I’M SO SICK AND TIRED OF THIS CRAP I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE ANYMORE WITH YOUR UGLY ADVERBS AND THOSE STUPID DANGLING PARTICIPLES YOU THINK MAKE YOU SOUND LIKE SHAKESPEARE GOD YOU’VE CHANGED INTO SOMETHING I CAN’T EVEN RECOGNIZE MAYBE WE SHOULD REALLY STOP FOOLING OURSELVES ABOUT THIS WHEN CLEARLY I’M THE ONLY ONE TRYING TO MAKE THIS WORK I HATE YOU SOOOO MUCHHHHHHHHH
you didn’t even see it coming! I MEAN GOSH THINGS WERE GOING SO WELL! but there it was. sitting on the outskirts of your imagination the whole time, teasing you with promises of what could be. ANOTHER SHINY IDEA! it was wearing a flippy skirt and red lipstick and it sounded so intelligent you couldn’t help but fall for its false proclamations. but you were too dazzled to realize that this new SNI was only a distraction. it was fleeting. unfulfilling. a concept with no tangible form. a cheap thrill with no literary value. you feel cheated. you feel dirty. YOU’RE SO ASHAMED.
you messed up. you never meant to leave but things were getting tough and maybe you have a problem with commitment and really, it was a mindless fling that meant nothing! you realize now what a mistake it was and how wrong you were to leave. it wasn’t like anything even happened! it was just a moment of weakness and NO YOU’RE NOT THINKING OF THE OTHER ONE RIGHT NOW you already said you’re sorry SO SORRY YOU SWEAR IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN YOU ARE NOW FULLY COMMITTED TO SEEING THIS PROJECT THROUGH NO MATTER WHAT.
blood. sweat. tears. so many expletives. a million points of compromise, hopefully lots of kissing. really excellent dialogue. stupid digressions you’ll edit out later. adventures you weren’t expecting, secrets you didn’t know you had, new things you never thought you’d learn. BUT YOU DID IT. you stuck it out. you wrote a freaking book.
i hear you’re expecting a sequel?
T.H. Mafi is a girl. She’s 22. She writes YA novels and owns more coats than pants.
Katherine C says
Hahaha I love it!
Mariah Irvin says
I think I'm in the "Squee" phase right now. NaNoWriMo is just so darn close…
Hahaha, this post took the words right out of my mouth.
Oh, this is so funny. And true!! Nicely done, T.H. 🙂
Matthew Rush says
You have kids? Wow, I didn't even know. Great post Tahereh!
Marilyn Peake says
Oh my God, that is one of the most awesome things I've ever read about the experience of writing! It is all so true! You know how, under the Procrastination section, you wrote:
…and you've discovered all these really awesome websites recently and it's now become a "thing" of yours to refresh your email and update your Twitter and "Like" at least five things on Facebook before you open up that Word Document. but it's not like you're avoiding it or anything!
Well…ahem, I got onto my computer a few minutes ago…OK, more like half an hour ago…planning to immediately start working on my novel…And, well, here I am. How did that happen?
T. Anne says
Ha! fab post! I'm going back to re-read it just for fun!!
Amalia T. says
Hahaha! The Expletive phase cracked me up! well done as always!
The expletive has to be the funniest. So true for a lot of novelists.
Sandy Shin says
You're absolutely awesome & this post is hilarious. 😀
Awesome. Hilarious. Spot on.
Love it! I'm also kinda sad about that fantasy interview with Oprah being off the table at this point lol.
Bryan Russell (Ink) says
If I could, I would buy a hundred little Taherehs and box them up and stick shiny ribbons on them and give them to everyone I know for Christmas. Because everyone needs a Tahereh.
Just listen to Miranda's "Kissin' U" I think that settles all inquiries. To Valerie Flame I mean K nice try. Good guide though and you Nathan? You should work for Stargate. J/K
Joanna St. James says
ha ha love this post, I have also been known to cheat on my WIPs but they have not caught me yet.
I wish one of them would give me a sequel already
Great job, Tahereh!
Is it considered cheating on your WIP if you fall in love with a blog post?
Courtney Price ~ Vintage Ginger Peaches says
This is a beautiful post!
Tomara Armstrong says
Haha! I felt like I was getting called out here. Gotta get back to it… and finish.
Mr and Dr Pygmy Hog says
It's awesome posts like these that make me drop to my knees and shout "thank god I'm not alone".
Or they would if my boss weren't watching my every move…
This post is awesome. I can totally relate to every stage. I love the truth intertwined with comic relief!
That "Procrastination-Expletive" section sound like me alright! Now about my writing…Writing does feel like a relationship. I'm learning that it certainly takes as much commitment. Eeesh. Who knew?
Chudney Thomas says
I'm in class and trying so hard not to laugh. This is amazing. I tip my hat to you.
Carol Riggs says
Argh, young AND talented, how disgusting (kidding). Superb way to look at the relationship between a writer and the work, T! I'm just coming out of the procrastination stage of my WIP…
Pamala Knight says
Awesome post! I know I totally relate.
It reminds me of another funny post on writing by the talented Libba Bray found here: https://libba-bray.livejournal.com/36896.html
Mariam Maarouf says
Don't – don't talk about us like that :'( We're not going to go through most of these stages because right now, we're so in love WE'RE GETTING MARRIED.
Ugh, who am I kidding? I went through the exact same phases with my debut. But, no, no, no. We'll get through this. We'll get through this. Mmmmhhmmm..Mmmmmhhmmm….
I [heart] my WIP! Yes, baby, I'm talking about you 'cause you're sooooo awesome..
*thinking* : Gosh I sound so stupid.
So true. I'm currently experiencing Procrastination, Expletive, Infidelity, and Groveling. I have yet to reach Love. I don't even know what Love feels like. *Sigh*
At least I know what I'm going though is normal and doesn't mean I shouldn't be bothering!
Excellent post! *bookmarked*
Lillian Grant says
I woke up to this before going to the day job. I can't stop laughing.
A lovely post you have a great sense of humour.
And do all these phases repeat through revisions? Great post.
Shari Green says
Ahahaha! Ohmygosh, I love this so much. Total ROFL at the expletive stage. Thanks for the laughs! 🙂
maine character says
This is EXPLETIVE SQUEEEEEEEEEEE.
It's not really infidelity if you truly broke up with your first Shiny New Idea, right? Or on a break. We were on a break, I swear!
Brodi Ashton says
This post is so great. Thanks.
Ha Ha T. You nailed it! Now at least I know I'm normal…(or not!)
Thanks for the humor. Loved it!!
Katherine Hyde says
I love this post! Hilarious. I forgot I wasn't reading Nathan, and that's quite a compliment.
This is brilliant. Love it!!!
sally apokedak says
very funny. Thanks!
Super Duper entertaining, T.H.! Yep, I likes it.
Taryn Tyler says
Hilarious. 😀 Although my manuscripts fuly understant that thou I may be commited to them at the moment I still toy with other ideas. Not something I would recomend in human relatioships though.
Joy N. Hensley says
Ah! I started the infidelity stage today!!
This needs to be printed and taped to my big fancy roll-top desk to remind me that….I am in love.
Holy cow, that is freakin' awesome!!!!
I love this so very much.
Can you write for Nathan from now on? You're MUCH funnier!
Hil-ar-ious! Amazing energy and cleverness. I don't know why I think I'm a writer after reading this. I don't write, I just indulge my fantasies. You've captured the writer's life. It's all about the up and down relationship; like the post of two days pointed out in regard to the author/agent fling. And you're only 22? Serious depression looming.
Actually, your post made my day. 🙂
Like everybody else said!