Listen to what your love is saying

You've been plugging along on the same novel for five years, doing a chapter a year more or less, writing and rewriting the first five pages, and frankly you're bored stiff with the people who inhabit the book. They lost your attention a long time ago, and have failed to do anything interesting enough in the last couple of years to get it back. But you don't want to be one of those writers who has twenty three-chapter novels stuck in a box under your bed (which is admirable of you, incidentally) so you grit your teeth and refrain from killing of those bores, and swear that you're going to get to the end of this novel or die.

Well, you just might. Die, that is. Don't let a book kill your writing. sometimes you have to figure out what it is that you love, and what it is that is keeping you from what you love. You love the writing. Your passion is for the act of sitting down and putting words on paper, telling stories, weaving webs. You do not love the individual book (and, believe me, when you're entangled in the middle of one, I know this is a tough distinction to make). The book is going to be gone from your life sooner or later, and another book will take its place. And another, and another. They will leave you, they won't call, they won't visit. Only the writing will remain, but nurtured, the writing will sustain you, and will grow stronger and more beautiful with the passing of time. Just like your other loved ones.

Kill that five chapter book that's been eating your heart out, and sit down and do a timed writing (see the chapter Timed Writing in the Workshops section to find out how) about the story that's waiting to be born in you right now. About who you want to meet on the page. About the city or the land in which you want your new, wonderful tale to travel. Or (and I know this sounds weird, but it works) do a timed writing in which you ask your writing where it wants to go, and let it tell you in the first person.

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