Dating our Book Ideas

I’ve been consuming a lot of Esther Perel YouTube videos lately.  I’m captivated by the rapidly evolving and changing nature of romantic relationships on the planet right now.  It’s a wild ride…are you feeling me?  

So, in homage to the wild world of romantic relationships…this blog explores how working with book ideas is a bit like dating (well, at least in the old paradigm, I can’t say yet how it will look moving forward, and that is for another conversation!)

Some of us come to book writing with a clear idea of the story that wants to be written (akin to marrying our high school sweetheart– hey, it happens, but not for the majority of us). 

More often than not, we creatives have more than one idea swimming around up there.  Getting stuck in the swim is where many of us stay.  So how do we get past this and actually write?  

First Get Curious

When it comes to our creative projects, we first must be curious about our ideas, to dance with them. We need to approach our creative ideas the way we’d approach any new relationship.  

  • How do we feel when we are engaging with them?
  • What is the strength of the energy and chemistry between us?  
  • Is this a strong candidate for serious commitment? That is, is this idea the basis for not only a solid workable book idea, but also something that we feel strongly that we need to write now?

We need to get really curious about our ideas, to go on lots of dates with the ones we like. We need to find out more about them, what makes them tick, and all they have to share.  But we can’t stop there.  

Then Commit

We must also choose to commit.  

Let me say that again: we must also choose to commit.  

We need to take one of our strongest ideas (even if it isn’t the only one you adore) and take the leap.  To dive all the way in.  To send the other ideas packing.  At least for now.  

Choosing a book idea is like moving in with that special someone.  It’s like the proposal, or even the marriage.  It’s a huge commitment.  

For all you commitment-phobes (hey, I can relate), here’s some help.  

Give yourself a commitment container that feels doable.  Give yourself an out if you need to.  If it helps, make a promise to commit to ONE idea for the next three or six months (or even one week) and see what comes of that singular, committed focus to this one idea.  Spend time with it, get to know it further, and see where the relationship leads.  

If you are really stuck, consider making a commitment to no single idea at all.  Commit to NOT writing for the next six months and see how that feels to you. Does the desire to write a book disappear completely?  Or does it gnaw at your mind like a pesky mosquito on a steamy summer night?  It just won’t leave you alone until you give it a good swat? 

 

Get curious AND commit.  And serial monogamy works here, if that is your jam.  You can write ALL the books, but you can’t write them all at the same time.  So pick the top idea for this book and lovingly tell the others to get in line.  

And, thing is, we can never know for sure when we take that leap that everything is going to work out perfectly.  I know incredible authors who write 120,000-word memoirs and scrap the whole thing.  And still others who dare it all and come out with a book they truly adore.  

It’s the same for book commitment as it is for love.  There are no guarantees.  We we must leap in with our full hearts and give everything we’ve got. I mean, we don’t actually have to.  But we will if we long to create something truly beautiful in our lives.  It’s the most risky, it’s freaky vulnerable, it’s crazy scary, but also the most rewarding.  

As Brene Brown says, “There is nothing more vulnerable than creativity.  It’s not about winning, it’s not about losing; it’s about showing up and being seen.” 

It is for our creative projects as it is for love.  And all great things.  

Do you struggle with committing to a book idea?  I’d love to hear what it’s like for you. And know that I’m here if you need someone to nudge you down the aisle (the proverbial book commitment aisle, that is).   

May you dare to love and write bravely and wholeheartedly,

Jaime