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Embracing Sadness, and Starting from Scratch

Finishing my novel is not easy. I have to confront the darkest emotions my characters go through, and I can't simply witness their pain – especially when it comes to my favorite character. But, to truly give my story its intended meaning, their enduring pain is necessary.

It's not just the characters in my novel; when I reflect on my own life, I also carry a little burden of pain. And who doesn't? I don't mean to romanticize pain, and I'm certainly not depressed. I don't constantly dwell on it – fortunately, I've always had a positive outlook. But occasionally, due to unexpected twists and turns, the pain inside me resurfaces, and recent events can amplify it, presenting me with a fresh wave to cope with. At such times, this pain feels totally unfair.

The same holds true for my novel. The mere thought of subjecting my characters to undeserved pain brings me to tears. At times, I question why I'm even writing this. Why can't I discard this idea and create a brand-new story that has no mention of pain? The new story could be something witty, funny, lighthearted, and positive. But I can't and won't do that. Pain is an important and obvious part of life experiences, just like happiness, anger, envy, greed, and the multitude of emotions that constantly swirl within us. It cannot be dismissed, whether in my fictional novel or in real life.

On that note, a significant part of my day was consumed by sadness today. Thanks to the anticipation of the pain my characters will face, combined with some personal reasons. As a result, I spent most of the day at home, trying various tasks to deal with my low mood. But, as evening approaches, I remind myself that I had allowed significant time to embrace my sadness, and now I needed to let it go and make room for new emotions. I will not choose to be stuck. So, I promptly get up and come to the library to work on my novel.

Once again, I find myself starting over (for what feels like the thousandth time in the past six years). I've rewritten my entire novel three or four times already, but it still doesn't feel like my best work. I've tried different points of view, hoping to find the most effective approach to do justice to my characters' stories. Yet, I'm still unsure if the chosen perspective truly works.

Today, I started outlining my novel. At first, I got caught up in the details, going through each scene and explaining the reasons behind every event. However, I reminded myself to pause. This isn't the right time for diving into the specifics. First, I need to establish a clear flow for the story, followed by structuring the chapters and scenes. Once that's in place, I can focus on the finer details.

So, I grab some blank sheets of paper that I tear from my old college blackbook, which never really served a purpose before. I jot down the major plot points on these sheets. I organize them in a series of rectangular boxes, linking them together like a chain. This method will allow me to analyze and refine the flow of the novel as I work on it.

I manage to complete about half of the plot outline before reaching a point where I can no longer push myself further. If I were to continue, I would end up breaking down in tears, which is the last thing I want to do in the library surrounded by boys and girls, who are focused on whatever it is that they are doing. So, I decide to take a break.

I indulge myself with some new flavored chips and a chilled coffee from the food vending machine. Then, I reach out to that one person who never fails to remind me of the beauty in my life, and how loved and supported I am – my best friend.

After our conversation, I naturally feel relieved, and my mood lifts. I walk over to my desk and pick up the stacks of paper that hold the raw and unfinished version of the novel's plot. A sudden surge of positivity washes over me, welcoming me back into a good frame of mind.

Today, I made progress in my novel writing process by completing a small portion. Even though I felt sad at first, I didn't give up, and now I feel a sense of fulfillment. This is why I will never give up on the idea of finishing my novel. Just the mere thought of it brings me immense satisfaction and purpose.

Time to say goodbye for now. I'll see you again – it's going to be a long journey!

– Pooja Kakde

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