When I was a teacher (I used to be a teacher), the beginning of the year was always stressful to me. It wasn’t the planning, because I loved the planning. It wasn’t setting up the room, because I loved setting up the room. It was when the kids came that first day and I didn’t love them.
The problem was I was still in love with my class from the previous year. I knew everything about them, their birthdays, what they enjoyed thinking about and playing, who they fought with and what made them scared. I was enthralled by their ideas and loved class discussions in all subjects. I woke up happy to be seeing them. And then they were gone. And now there were these perfectly fine children in front of me, for whom I harbored kind thoughts, but who I didn’t know enough to love yet. Not really love, not with meaning.
I found that two weeks was what it took. Every year I was worried and miserable that it wouldn’t happen and every year at the two week mark I was besotted again, besotted with this new group of kids and excited to figure out who they were and what they needed. And every year the relief was enormous, but that never made me less worried come September.
Well, it turns out that writing is the same way for me. I start a new book and I don’t love it or anybody in it yet. Or maybe I sort of do, but it feels like a theoretical love for someone who I’ve been told about, who I like the sound of— a friend of a friend maybe—but not someone who is yet in relationship with me, who lives in my heart. And it stresses me out enormously. Am I ever going to love this book, I fret? Am I ever going to feel it? Weirdly, the classroom love experience does helps me realize that of course I will. Right? I mean, I hope so. Ugh.
Anyway, do you know what I mean? How long does it take you to feel like a book has you by the heart? What do you do to foster that? Spill it in the comments!
Not like this is happening to me right now or anything.