I’m using the writing of my novel as an opportunity for personal growth, as I do with most everything – a chance to learn more about what truly motivates me, what I want out of life, and to better define my feelings about relating with others, rather than relating just to my artistic work.
I’ve never written a novel before, though I’ve written several screenplays, hundreds of poems and lyrics to my songs, a few short fictional pieces, and thousands of non-fictional pages on topics ranging from narrative to psychology to philosophy, physics, and political theory. But never a novel.
Mostly I’ve not written a novel because no idea I’ve ever had, no matter how intriguing it might have been, excited me to sit down and tell the tale so that others might enjoy it.
But this time it’s different. I really love this story, and I’m so excited to share it with others that it is a major frustration not to do so until it is finished because I also think it is the one big idea that has the greatest chance of fulfilling my dreams of a big paycheck and some recogition for my work.
That’s why I’m holding back until it is done. But I can’t let those reasons become part of my motivation for writing it or the pure joy of savoring the idea and also anticipating the fun others will have in reading it will be tainted by monetary and ego-driven concerns.
And so I have set about a process whereby I fequently query myself to weed out any motivations driven by money or the desire of recognition, though that may, in fact, double or triple the time it takes to finished the book – perhaps making it take another year and a half or so to complete (which just adds to my frustration).
Still, if I can suffer frustration every damn day, and even the fear that I’ll croak before I complete it or not live to enjoy seeing others enjoy it, perhaps I will have a better balance in my creative life.
I was thinking, then, that:
1. I must not allow myself to be driven by the hope for money
2. I must not allow myself to be driven by recognition
3. I must not allow myself to be driven by needing to complete it.
4. I must not be driven by expectation of others enjoying reading it.
So, in the end, I would like to be able to answer the question, “Why are you writing this novel?” with “Because I want to.” And the follow-up question, “Yes, but what’s your purpose?” I hope to (eventually) honestly reply, “I have none.”
Not there yet. And, honestly, it that even a worthy goal? Or should I just throw myself into it as I have with every other big project I’ve ever taken on, movtivated by all of those things so I can get it done as quickly as possible, but at the expense of having any other kind of a life and being wholly tunnel visioned into completion?
Ah, if I could live forever, I’d have no problem, would I?
One thing is certain. I have vowed that once this project is finished I will never again take on a big project that can’t be released piecemeal as I go. No more waiting months or years to be done with the whole thing before I share what I’m creating, as I’m creating it.
That’s what I’ve vowed. Now to see what actually happens…