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The Passion for My Book Idea Died

  • 4 min read

The process of writing is paradoxical.

I’m writing a novel.

Maybe you want to write a book too and ask yourself where to start.

Hopefully, I can share some learnings with you.

In my latest post “The Unseen 90% Is What Makes the Other 10% of My Writing Readable” I shared that writing is an iceberg.

The unseen 90% is what makes the other 10% readable.

As for the editing part, I make it a challenge to read only what is written on the paper and to ignore anything else that is only in my head.

But how about the research part?

Reading a lot is what usually marks the beginning of my writing efforts.

While I believe all authors should read extensively, I also believe that if you don’t read much — or even anything — in the genre in which you write, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

If readers come seeking a thriller they are expecting a thriller and will not enjoy your book if it is a romance masquerading as a thriller.

You should be conscious of the traditions you are engaging in as well as the tropes and qualities of the genre.

This is not to suggest that you cannot defy expectations.

Rather, to do so successfully, you must be aware of what they are.

More significantly, though, you have no notion how your work fits into your genre if you don’t read it.

You also face the risk of creating a novel with a concept that looks fresh to you but has been done to death.

Then there’s the part of my writing process where I also try to learn everything there is to know about the place, the geographical location where the action of my story takes place.

For my story the setting is important. I’ll share more in a future post.

So I’m searching through books, articles, movies, Instagram feeds, and blogging sites.

I note key points in my digital notebook.

However, I know, very little of this will end up in my manuscript.

My goal for the phase I’m in is to get as many ideas as possible of special locations and places to fill my novel with.

The process of writing is paradoxical

To be honest, I find the process of writing a book, reading a lot, and doing research to be incredibly paradoxical.

Granted, I put in a lot of time.

But I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have this obsessive fixation that overtakes me every time I approach a new subject.

Robert McKee says:

“when you do enough research, the story almost writes itself. Lines of development spring loose and you’ll have choices galore.”

I would dearly love to assert that I simply work tirelessly until something comes together.

It’s more of a test.

I can only become more fascinated by immersing myself in a subject if I’m emotionally invested in my book.

With a fervor that defies all rationality, it has almost romantic traits, as my novel does.

My novel becomes the center of my universe

My husband always says that when I write my novel, it becomes the center of my universe.

When I pick up my toddler from kindergarten a few hours later, even seemingly irrelevant topics I’m talking about with other moms, somehow feel connected to my book.

I will find myself thinking about the book, the characters, and the setting all the time.

But as with many love stories, there often comes a moment when the passion wears thin.

I thought I had found a lovely setting for my book but then poof… from one moment to the next the passion was gone.

Maybe because it was only desk research and I’ve never been to this place.

I could no longer bear spending hours researching.

That’s how I knew this book was going nowhere.

The passion for my setting idea for the book just died.

There are only ashes.

It’s a loss

I let go of my initial setting idea.

It’s still a loss.

As Steve Jobs once said:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

You can’t connect the dots moving forward, just backward!

When looking back at all those ideas I was passionate about and then died, I know another idea will come to me.

Then this loss will have a meaning and I will create something beautiful upon these ashes.

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