Taking a trip into the past – Revisiting a WIP that I somewhat abandoned back on October 1, 2014

January 4, 2017 by

After looking over the WIP I was working on just before this year's NaNoWriMo (2016), I realized that I'd gotten a lot further into it in my mind than what was actually on paper. I had thought I had gotten to around the halfway point, if not farther. Instead, I had only written around 4K words.

I had made the mistake of, after having an intense writing month, mistaking my progress with my outline with the progress of my actual first draft.

So instead of having around two weeks of writing left to finish the first draft of the second WIP, I instead found myself with a good month of writing ahead of me.

It was at that point that I remembered my WIP from a few years ago. I remembered pausing, then working on another WIP, but I didn't remember why I had really come to a stop.

What I did remember of it was that I was around 10k-20k shy of finishing the first draft, so I thought it'd be worth revisiting. I also remembered it had a decent story line that just needed some tweaking and massaging to knock it into shape.

So knocking the cobwebs off of it, I decided to delve into it. The first thing I noticed was the reason why I stopped working on it. The last time/date stamp for the last time I had written anything in it was October 1st, 2014 at 5:21AM. That time/date stamp was pretty important. Eight days later, I would receive the call that changed a lot of things in my life, namely my mom passing away at around 6AM, October 9th.

So now I remembered why I had stopped work on it. I had just taken an emotional gut punch that I had no way to really prepare for. The entire month of October is nothing but a big blur to me. I only remember feelings, emotions, and distant images that lose their cohesion when I turn my focus to them. One of my oldest friends showed up to the funeral, someone I hadn't seen in years. It would only be a few short days later that I would be going to a funeral service for one of his family members.

What I remembered most distinctly about my mother's funeral was my attempt to speak at it. Normally, for me, public speaking isn't something I have issues with. I can usually just jot down some notes and wing it. This time, however, was completely different. I had spent several hours working on what I had planned to say, revising and reworking what I wanted to say, making sure I didn't leave anything out. I had every intention, at least in the back of my mind, to give a powerful speech like you see on TV.

The reality was, I think I gave a more powerful impact by my inability to even get threw the smallest fraction of what I'd wanted to say. In front of everyone, I broke down, exposing my raw emotions in a way nobody but my wife had ever experienced. It washed over everyone there in a way mere words could never do. My wife told me afterwords that my inability to express the jagged pain I was experiencing from the loss of my mom had told people more about my wounded inner self more than any words could ever hope to do.

The only way I was able to deal with those feelings and emotions was to start something new, something fresh, which is where Syphon came from. It was something I could focus on, something that I could focus my pain and loss through, allowing me to process it in my own way.

So coming back to this WIP is kinda bittersweet. It's something that I had hoped to write so my mom could read it and see that, despite what all my teachers had said to the contrary when I was growing up, I could, in fact, write a story that someone else might want to read. Just reading a few pages of it, I realize how much I've grown as a writer over the past few years. I also realize that I had written it in a much simpler, happier time.  So I don't know if I can finish the book with the same outcome I planned on back then. I might even need to rewrite vast swaths of it because my world has been darkened a lot since I originally started on it.

We've had to survive through her death, being on strike for around two months, the passing of one of our dogs, years of trying to catch up from all the debt we got into due to my mom's medical bills, our pets vet bills, and a whole slew of other things.

On the other hand, we came through all these trials stronger than when we went into them. Our financial outlook has finally started looking up, and I've finally gotten confirmation that I do have the ability to make it as a writer. I'm already generating a small monthly income from my writing (enough to go out to dinner a few times a month) and if I hit my modest goal for this year (four new books published) I know there's a decent chance of reaching a four figure monthly income. At the very least, I know I can start bringing in enough to cover my car payment.

I just hope that, in her way, my mom is looking down on me and feels a small measure of pride knowing that I'm finally starting to hit my stride and that I'm going to be okay.

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