Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t

I’m up to 144k words on my rough draft. I know what the ending will be. I have already started reorganizing the material so that I can split and expand it into a trilogy for the second draft. And yet, here I am, not having touched it in days now, perhaps weeks.

I have writer’s block for what feels like one of the worst and least respectable reasons.

I’m jealous of my protagonists.

I tend to be a fountain of ideas. I have a lot of projects I’ve sketched notes for, and even done some writing for over the years. But I realized that for the sake of my mental health I’d have to pass on working with a lot of those ideas right now. I can’t immerse myself into dark worlds or darker-themed stories or a depressed protagonist without risking depression in reality. So I changed focus, came up with an idea for protagonists and a world that would be more hopeful and not wearying to work with.

The problem arose from the fact that I’m really tired of unhealthy, toxic, or unhappy, impossibly melodramatic romantic relationships in fiction. So I wrote a relationship for my protagonists that was the kind of relationship I’d like to see for a change.

And then my personal life and relationship blew up. I realized not only have I never had a healthy relationship, I’ve never even had a relationship with romantic and sexual chemistry. Worse, I know now that I want what I don’t have and may never get.

I suppose sitting down to write the relationship I’d want to see in fiction only served to reveal the major flaws in my own relationship, the ways in which it has and continues to be unhealthy and unhappy, and the fact that I’m not quite the pragmatist I thought I was – that I don’t want to just shrug and say ‘well, I guess this is what I’m stuck with.’

So whenever I try to work on my project, working with protagonists whose romantic relationship has progressed into the healthy, supportive, chemistry-laden relationship I want, it hurts. I was trying to write the sort of stories that would be escapist while writing, improving my mood rather than worsening it, and now it’s no longer escapist.

Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

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