I met a lady at a class one time, and we ended up staying after to talk about her novel idea. Her idea was great. Her material was fascinating historical novel stuff, with current socially relevant themes, compelling characters and situations, dramatic, literary — a book I want to read.
But I found myself bored for half the time she was talking. Why? Because I was saying to myself, “She’s never going to write it.” I was listening with rapt attention to the details of the novel, but when she talked about the writing part, I felt my attention slipping. Maybe it was fun for her to have the idea for the novel, fun to think of herself as a (potential) novelist. Maybe at that moment she thought she was going to write it, because I was sitting there listening, encouraging her, showing her the face of a reader begging to read her book.
But I know the other face, the one she was showing me. I’ve seen that face on some of the people I’ve invited to the writing group, but who have never come to a meeting. I’ve been inside that face talking about one of my own unfinished (barely started) novels. I’m pretty sure she’s not going to write that book. Maybe she doesn’t actually like to write; she just thought of a great idea for a book. And there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s fun to think of ideas for books. Most people I talk to have thought of at least one. And most of them will never write it.
Except I always have hope, because I want to read this lady’s book, and because I believe that everyone has it in them to create.
Please, dear potential novelist: If you actually want to write, prove me wrong. Everyone I’ve ever thought this about, prove me wrong. So you never contacted me. So you never came to the writing group, or you never came back. I don’t care, as long as you’re writing.
You have my card. When your book comes out, or when you have a complete draft, or even when you reach the anniversary of the day you actually started writing, drop me a line.
I’ll be glad to hear from you.