This afternoon I was playing with some world building and magic-system ideas for my current novel and I started to get very excited about said ideas. Things were clicking into place, one idea leading to another, each neatly solving a problem. Click, click, click. My best game of Tetris ever. With each new idea, I got more excited; my pulse quickened, my energy levels rose. “This is why I do this,” I thought. A little voice in the back of my brain likened it to a high, but without the troublesome side effects afterward. But immediately after that thought, I realized, no… the writer’s high does have its own dark side. It lures you in with good moments, and without warning, the trap snaps shut, leaving you alone and in the dark, wondering what the hell just happened.
And with that, the next thought…
Working on a piece of writing is like being in a relationship with a troublesome, tempestuous lover. It is the kind of relationship that everyone tells you isn’t good for you, but you just. can’t. quit.
When it’s good, it’s good. That tempestuous nature ignites something within you, an ember that fans quickly into a flame. You can’t stop thinking about them, everything reminds you of them, and suddenly, they are your entire world. You know you’re flirting with fire, but that is part of what makes the experience so enjoyable, so exciting. You get giddy just thinking about them, and when things align, you see stars.
But that very same passionate will eventually work against you, sooner or later. It’s inevitable. The flames will continue to fan into an inferno that you can’t control. Where there was once was magic and euphoria, there is instead heartache and desolation. Nothing will go right. Nothing you say or do will be good enough for your fickle, mercurial darling. There will be tears and no small touch of madness on your behalf.
And just when you are ready to call it quits, and break it off, for good this time! Your little lover will change on you again, maybe even simpering, whispering a thousand apologies. Assurances and promises will slip off their silver tongue, and there will be one final sweet offer you just can’t refuse.
And so, the process begins anew.
Is it any wonder so many writers drink and/or have gone insane?
We court insatiable, temperamental lovers, and keep coming back for more.
Oh muse, thou art a heartless bitch.
For what it’s worth, I’ll take the lows with the highs. I’m still working on those ideas I mentioned, and still excited but tempered. One might say that is the key all along: temper the flame, and don’t let it consume you. Easier said than done…