Hi, and welcome back to regular writing. 🙂
I just spent probably three months finishing up my third book with Portfolio/Penguin. It was damn stressful but I’m glad we pushed ourselves. It’ll be out in October.
I’ve pretty much figured out that I can’t write several things at once, at least while caring about all of them. While this blog goes on, I love it and want to pour everything into it. While I have a book going, I suffer like hell to make it as good as I can. I probably lost a year of my life working on the Flinch, but it was worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
About two years ago I was in Paris, renting a little apartment in the 16th arrondissement and reading HÃ©lÃ¨ne Cixous, considered by some to be the best living writer in the French language. She said that all good writing needed to involve some little kind of death. I would say the same for any kind of valuable work.
If you aren’t dying for it, it’s bullshit. If you die with any life left in you, you’ve wasted it. You should die entirely empty and spent. That’s my view.
If there is anything I could wish upon you, that is it. I wish for you the ability to find work worth dying for, worth going to prison for, worth suffering for. It isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.
The problem with finding work to do that is at that level is that you literally avoid it. You will do anything to quit. You may even avoid finding it on purpose.
Just recently I thought up an idea so big that it did two things. One, it was such a big, ambitious idea that it made me terrified of failure. Second, it is so big and ambitious that it makes everything else feel small.
Both of these things, by themselves, aren’t problems. The problem is that the idea is one of those ideas that’s “just so crazy it might work.”
Do you have work like this? Where are you right now? What are you trying to be? Can I help? Please let me know.