Emotional Maturity

I had coffee today with a woman who is 21 and married. She talked about how people give her the fish eye when she says that she is married. Last time I saw her, she was about to be married, and her response to people who told her that she was too young to get married was to say “Oh, you’re right! I hadn’t realized that. I’ll call off my wedding right now.” Not that I advocate marriage for all 21 year olds (who am I to advocate for anything?), but this one knows what she’s doing as much as any of us do, and let’s not think too hard about how little we all know about what we’re doing.

I’ve written a new ending for my book. It’s difficult to write, and that shows in the writing. Someone who shall remain nameless, but I hate her and love her at the same time, told me to just axe the ending and start from where the writing is good. This means sacrificing 20,000 words, and building back up to them again. I don’t want to do that. No, I want to hold on to those 20,000 words as hard as I can. My words. Mine.

Writing takes emotional maturity. You have to know, more or less, what you’re getting into, and you have to adapt to change. You have to love the person who tells you that she knows your ending sucks, even though she hasn’t read it, just by the way you’re talking about it. You have to—dear God—delete those 20,000 words and try to put something in its place. And then, I’m sorry to say, you’ll probably have to do that again. That beginning that you think is so polished and pretty? It probably needs an overhaul too.

I’m not ready. But I’m making a compromise, because that’s what emotionally mature people do (DO YOU HEAR THAT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS???). I’m taking the main idea of my ending and writing it into an essay in hopes that the smaller form will help me work on the idea to see if it is going to work. If I can get the concept nailed down and the writing shined up, then it will be the heart of the new ending of my book, mixed metaphors aside. It may work, and it may not work. But I’m going in.

How about you?

[Indy Clause is fully aware of how hilarious it is that she wrote a post on emotional maturity. —The Management]


7 responses to “Emotional Maturity

  1. I once told a friend of mine that I didn’t know if I was mentally healthy enough to write a good book—I mean, a whole book?

    He said, “Well, then maybe you’re mentally unhealthy enough to write a great book.”

    Okay, then…

  2. How about me?
    I wrote 10,000 words of dumb because I was trying to be a writer I’m not. But you know what I say to that? I eat 10,000 words for breakfast. Screw ’em. Rewrite them in third person, slower? Yeah, that’s what I do. And if they all end up trashed, well there’s more where that came from, baby.
    20,000 words? Nothing. Tell them to go f*ck themselves and get back to work.
    Yeah, that’s the way writers roll.

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