Once Upon a Narcissist – Falling in Love with an Optical Illusion – author’s remarks following the 100 Day Book Program

When I started the 100 day book writing program I had no idea how my life would evolve and implode during that period.  Virtually anything the gods could throw at me, that they already hadn’t, they did.   It transformed into a test of identity, disillusionment, inclusion and conflict.

 

I went through a marriage breakdown, the ensuing sale of the family home and division of assets, purchase of new home, a house move, and if that wasn’t enough, an MRa scan for a health scare.  During the whole period I was holding down a high stress and demanding position as a project coordinator on a project with a major university.  I was overwhelmed, pressured beyond belief, and emotionally challenged. With those emotions came personal tests of identity and self-worth, and a desire to meet the challenge of the conflict and emerge the other side.  Theeafter, the attitude of not being in it to win it but rather to survive it, came into force.

 

Any one of these challenges in isolation would be enough to rock one’s world and project you off the trajectory of completing and  finishing what you had set out to do, write a book.  But a full complement of this barrage of what are considered the highest stress life events was challenging.

 

Giving up wasn’t something I wanted to do, but writing every day was becoming harder, not just from the perspective of time restraints but from overwhelming stress and distraction by the chain of events and demands of the people in my life.

 

I love writing, it is my passion and what I live for.  But the extraneous pressures during this period were great.  So great that even writing, traditionally my escape route, became harder.  Writing everyday became challenging instead of a blessing, instead of a release.

 

However, each day I would receive something from the 100 day book program, a lesson, an insight, an encouraging word.  Sometimes even just a reminder.  And each day this proved to be enough.  Despite the challenges and the stress, it was enough….  I finished my book in the 100 days.

 

How?  Because I was in the program.  I had made a commitment, and the program had made a commitment to me.  It didn’t give up on me and I didn’t give up on the program.

 

My mentor in the program didn’t give up on me either.  On one particularly difficult occasion I told her of my challenges, and she was sympathetic but didn’t either discount me nor write me off.  She encouraged me and kept me focused.  Meghan, I know you’re out there, and thankyou.

 

How did things evolve throughout the program.  In the initial phase we were asked to write a book plan including a oneliness statement.  I found that during the course of writing the book, the book plan evolved as the story and characters developed, but now it is time to go back and start a re-write to bring the story back in line with the original plan, still giving new respect to the characters, developing their personalities and their individual stories, but making the overall book more compatible with how the characters intertwine and interact.

 

The story line itself and the oneliness didn’t change, the built in reality check became stronger and now needs to be integrated more subtly, but with more explanation from the one character in the book who can explain the progress of the protagonist and the other characters.  This character, who is a psychologist and confident of the protagonist, is in a prime position to be able to explain the development in a subtle yet clear manner, as it is her role in life to do that.

 

I feel the need to add to the story, more in the way of a love interest for the protagonist, and yet not let this take over and become her rescuer, for it is imperative that she rescues herself, albeit with the help of the insights and support of her psychologist friend and the support and love of her old colleague, a lawyer who enables her to finally assert her rights instead of being afraid to rise to the challenge.

 

As a direct result of the 100 Day Book Program, I now have a complete but unrevised manuscript, something which I doubt I would have had even without the life challenges I faced during the course of my writing if I had not enrolled in the program.

 

And from this position, I feel enabled and in a position where I will be able in my re-write to allow my protagonist to re-define her own box, to challenge herself to do the unthinkable and to survive the narcissist defining her.

 

 

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