I look back at some of my projects – the early stuff – the ones I somehow know will probably never be finished. These drafts piled up neatly in a box with scattered thoughts or random stories that have done their duty. I created them for the purpose of learning the craft of writing, like a sculptor chiseling away for hours to end up with a decapitated mold or a potter with disfigured pottery. And like the undead, the unfinished continues to haunt me, taunt me or daunt me – a twisted aspect of my unconscious afraid to hear what my conscious has to say: “I’m done with you. I won’t look at you. I’ll get rid of you.” But I would never dare do that.
The material is not all rubbish as there are elements to fish out – elements here or there such as characters, metaphors or descriptions – elements to incorporate into current or future projects. Besides, writers should not delete traces of their history. Silly, embarrassing or amateurish does not matter, it is still my history and it should remain documented, for reference and as a measure of progress.
Expectations betrayed me. Disappointment chases me. Self-pity at having labored so hard in futility hinders my ability. It is all so irrational – because rationally this is all a part of the learning process and what it takes to improve my writing – but I feel like a shattered mirror and the shards show me sliced up and cut up.
Fast-forward. There are projects approaching their penultimate draft. Others are rife with ideas and substance to see them through. All geared towards completion with the anticipation of being sent out into the world of letters. Ironically, these stories pester me more. They feel ready, set and not to go. Another draft to tweak this or that. I am spent, empty, in a creative drought.
A writer’s life is hard work, hard work, hard work – to generate material, improve the craft, write draft after draft after draft, agonize, repeat the process and eventually produce a finished piece.
I love you writing. I hate you writing. You pull me apart. You bring me together.
(A Personal Essay)