It’s a curious thing finishing the same book a second time. As I put it to my brother and anyone who would listen at the end of March, the ending was exactly the same and completely different. The same general things happened, but all of it happened in different ways. Ways I was a lot more proud of then I was with the original. So proud that I thought I deserved to stop worrying about writing for a while.
And so proud that here I am, in mid May, still on hiatus. A hiatus that’s gone for a lot longer than I intended. One from which I’m now trying to work myself.
But one that’s particularly hard to work out of because there’s no book behind it. I didn’t realize it when I took my break, but I’m a bit too far gone now; the result of the Brand New Day is that I now… can’t get anything done in my life unless I’m writing something beneath it.
It’s actually the last thing I ever expected, but it makes sense; I’m a writer, so how could I be at my very best if I’m not writing? But it’s deeper than that; there’s a discipline about the task that keeps everything else reigned in. When I was writing War of Exiles, I was dieting and working out every day. I was rationing my money wisely and being diligent about my job searches, not just kind of getting defeated by them.
The only thing I wasn’t doing was seeing the people I really wanted to see and having a solid social life. That I sequestered away, and it’s probably part of the reason why I crashed so hard with this hiatus—a part of me totally doesn’t want to stop hanging out. The problem is, I did a complete 180 with my responsibilities; I’m not dieting or rationing my money or looking for jobs as often as I should. I know I haven’t completely given up in any one of those aspects like I could’ve, but I’ve definitely regressed. Into someone I don’t want to be. Into someone without a plan. Without a road to travel.
What I want to be is someone who realizes that road for what it is: the road my characters travel. The adventure that they have. Only with finishing the book and this stupid hiatus do I realize that their adventure is mine too. And just as it’s scary for Lethe to give up the simplicity of his childhood for the servitude he lives now, it’s scary for me to do what needs to be done. To accept that I have to combine my writing and other endeavors with my friends; to accept that those two worlds can’t just be separate so I can embrace either one of them at an easier pace. It’s just not how life works and it isn’t the life I want to lead.
So Brand New Day is over. And I’m glad to take all of this from it; the realization that the life of the writer isn’t so different from the life of anyone else. We work and we play and we dream. But we do it for our characters. We do it so we can show others their dreams and troubles, and our own.
Because if we don’t live for our characters and our stories, then we live for nothing.