Writing the Last Chapter

This post is NOT about my book – it isn’t even about writing. (I admit, I loved writing my books and I love writing about writing my books) Writing the last chapter is about new and developing relationships. “Writing the last chapter” refers to the urge to let your mind rush far into the future when you would be much better off remaining firmly in the present. 

For example, here is a fictional example to make my point:  Chelsea meets Matt on Friday and they hit it off, exchange of phone numbers, and both head home with high hopes.  Matt calls the next day and says, “Sunday, I have to go to my niece’s birthday party in the burbs but I might be back in the evening – if I don’t run into friends.  If I get back, maybe we could do something.”

Chelsea wakes up on Sunday and waits for his call. Noon brings no call. Still silence at mid-day.  Chelsea goes from disappointed (understandable but premature) to hurt, and then she begins to feel badly about herself, convinced that, “He doesn’t like me.”  This is not a crazy progression or an unusual one.  Chelsea was excited (that’s good) and hoped Matt would call (also good).  The problem occurred when Chelsea wrote the last chapter before the other chapters had been penned.  Let’s go back and look at the dangerous progression – excited à hopeful à disappointed à hurt à feeling negatively about herself – all for no reason.  She had no further information so filled in the silence with a negative imagination.

She would have been much better off making plans, going about her day, not making assumptions and staying in the present.  She would have felt stronger and far better about herself. She would not have wasted her Sunday. Whether Matt called on Monday (and Chelsea felt foolish) or he never called, she was writing chapters prematurely. Call it “live in the moment”, “stay in the present”, “pay attention to now” or “don’t waste your time and energy” but it is a good attitude to practice.

If you are an early career clinician, a professor who teaches interviewing skills, or a clinical supervisor, you will find my newest book, “What Do I Say? The Therapist’s Guide To Answering Client’s Questions” (with C. Waehler, published by John Wiley, 2011) a  practical, useful addition to your library.   http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=what+do+i+say+edelstein 

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One Response to “Writing the Last Chapter”

  1. October 14th, 2011 6:29 pm

    I really like this one!

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