There’s an old guy whom I pass on the bike path every day. His bike is as ancient as he is. He has a basket on the handlebars that hold an equally ancient small poodle. He’s blind and has few teeth [the dog, not the man], and I adore how this man takes such good care of his old friend. It’s obvious they’ve had a long life together, and he’s determined to maintain the loving relationship.
It got me to thinking about our WIPs. They’re old friends, too, aren’t they? Or are they? Our stories can become ragged, blind, and toothless at times, yet do we to put them in our literary baskets that are swinging between the handlebars of our bikes? Do we nurture them and give them a breath of fresh air? Or do we scream and curse our writing and ourselves because we can’t break through a tough scene or properly develop our plot? Do we consider our characters – the ones we fell in love with ages ago – the Devil’s spawn?
I admit that I’m guilty of the Devil’s spawn bit – and questioning my ability to write a grocery list let alone a book. After looking at this old guy and his dog today, I realized that I’m often not very nice to myself or my writing when my story becomes snaggle-toothed, and I’m betting a lot of you are in the same boat.
So I’ve made a promise to myself. I’m putting my WIPs into my literary bike basket and taking them all for a nice “bike write” in the fresh air. I don’t care how haggard and soggy they are, I still love them because they’re an extension of some part of my soul that was screaming to get out – even if that manuscript never makes it to print. I won’t shoot my evil red pen at myself and insist that my writing sucks stale Twinkie cream. I’ll nurture my little friends until they either blossom into something great or pass over the Literary Rainbow Bridge.