Relationship – from an Author to the Page

When I first started to write, back nearly eight years ago, I thought I could create a book and have it published in six months. I was right, I could, but the quality was lacking. My first novel as I went through it, didn’t make much sense and was all over the place. I tried in vain to write it over, and over, cutting at it like a surgeon hooped up on medications, severing all the parts into a mutilated mess. I went from a surgeon, to a mad doctor of words, and pages. I pieced my work together and it resembled a monster, held together with stitches, hacked scenes, and patched sentences. None of it worked. Horrified I put my first novel down and started on a new book.

This time it would be different, this time I’d write in a way it would make it easier to do the rewrite. So, I slowed my pace, thought it out, and kept the pages turning, writing the most boring words on this planet one could endure.  I again was horrified, there on the white sheets of digital pages were my thoughts, my words, and they bored the complete hell out of me. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, couldn’t see clearly enough, so I did what other novelist often do – I turned to screen writing. It will be easier no doubt, I don’t have to come up with all those details and I see stories more like movies in my head anyway. I created my first screen play after toying with it for nearly a year – it was bad. Truly it was. The strange thing is, as an author,I tend to think what I’ve written is wonderful and the world is going to love it. It’s not until I come down out of the clouds do I realize what I’ve created is a travesty that no one should bear to see or read. Yet I entered a contest with my first screen play and well, didn’t even place, that was completely unexpected as I told myself. I had done a pretty good job, but deep down I didn’t and when I read the pages again I could see it was true.

Now, my perspective has changed over the many years of writing. I’ve found what I’ve been trying to do was going against what was really happening. I learned I was developing a relationship with the pages in front of me, the words, the sentences, the thought and structure. All of it had a relationship to me. Learning this gave me some pause, knowing that all relationships take time, all relationships have ups, they have downs, they even experience trying times. The relationships which last are by far the most precious in our lives.  Aren’t they? The struggles which are endured together often form the strongest bonds, and there begins something else – trust, but not just trust. reliance. A strong relationship can be relied upon, and the truth can be told without fear of severing this bond. Truth often allows us to live free of ourselves, and what the pages have told me over time is truth. Truth in what is on the page, it doesn’t hide my mistakes any longer, we are way past that point. My relationship with the page is strong, a bond which took many years, many troubling times, many thoughts of quitting.

I look back and wonder what if I had quit, gave up on forming this relationship with the page, forming my thoughts for others to see, what would I be like now? Well, I’d be without something close to my heart. I’m glad I didn’t give up, and I’m glad for the struggles which have formed this author’s relationship with the page.


D.W. Rigsby