Sunday, February 28, 2010

Are You a Clock Watching Therapist to Your Characters?

"I'm sorry, your time is up for today. Let's pick this up next time. "

The bad stereotype of the clock watching therapist/patient relationship would be horrible to experience. To get started on some big issue and have to stop on a dime when time ran out? Yikes!

Hmm, actually, that does seem kind of like my writing process. I'm not the patient in this scenario (debatable, but bear with me!) but the amateur therapist. The characters are the patients.
I have good intentions in my role, but just when I get to the heart of the matter, time's up. I'm not sure who is to blame, but sometimes in this relationship I have warm ups that build to just getting in tune, while at other times the breakthroughs come "out of session" - - guaranteed to be inconvenient. (i.e., In the shower or in the five minutes before I have to stop or be late, late, late.)

My muse (FYI, also a patient) has been progressively pushy lately - - on the brink of discoveries when, in months of "sessions," it didn't whisper a peep to me. I did show up to listen. Okay, sometimes in session I surfed the net or played Bingo, but I showed up. I waited for the heart of the matter (begged and pleaded even) and often all I got was the basics. But, apparently I'm "ON CALL" because, what invariably happens? Out of the blue, things start to fall into place in an avalanche of the heart of the matter breakthroughs.

My conversation with my patient right now goes something like this:

Hold that thought, Mrs. Heroine. I've got a week off from my "day job" coming up and we'll pick things up where we left off. I know, I just figured out your biggest fears. That's big, and I do appreciate that you decided to finally let me in on it. What's that? Yes, I know, it's my fault. I shouldn't have started this new therapy five minutes before the end of the session, but I thought I'd experiment with this first person thing. It opened up the floodgates when I didn't really expect it to work - - you have been awfully stubborn you know - - but, um, can should I put this...put a cork in it for now? You've done it this long, what's a little longer? For now, I really must do this other thing or I'll be...[insert something, oh, say becoming homeless or something]. So, just hold your place...and pass that on to everyone else too. Okay?

Can it work that way?

Not. *LOL*

But, as melodramtic as it sounds like I make my writing process, it's how I love to be. The things that come to me are not, in fact, out of the blue, but only possible by absorbing experiences. I'd much rather have this problem of being a "clock watching therapist" than never to have heard my patients problems at all.

If, as the author you are the therapist, what would your conversation with your patients be like?


  1. This is so like me! I love this.

  2. Thanks, Renee. I'm glad I'm not the only one! *LOL*


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