Nothing you write can ever be as pure or perfect as your idea. That’s the writer’s challenge, and that’s what keeps me up at night. It keeps me alive. This lifelong pursuit of perfection. How can I express on the page the strange feeling that carried itself into my daydream? Turning this intangible idea into words – is it possible? The more impossible it feels, the more I love it. It’s the best part of the writing process. And I even love every failure.
Because the best failures are still fantastic stories. They capture the essence of the idea, and they resemble the purity of that first thought, but they’re not quite the same. So, the next idea comes, and it’s even better than the last. You sit in front of a blank page and you ask yourself how to reimagine it into words. How can you show everyone else? And show them in the best way possible. The pursuit goes on. And it’s beautiful. I’m in love with how impossible the entire thing is. The following passage from Dostoevsky’s The Idiot comes to mind:
“There is something at the bottom of every new human thought, every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one’s idea for thirty-five years; there’s something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps the most important of your ideas.”
The ‘real’ writing process
We have to embrace the impossible passion with the scientific spirit of the process, and we have to try to find the best way to not let our most important ideas die with us. The more I write, the more I believe that the definition of writing has more to do with the craft and the attempt than the execution. To me, that’s what matters, and that’s where the real writing happens. The idea is the best part of the writing process.
It’s not about implementing a marketing strategy, begging for reviews, or selecting a genre or subject that will appeal to the broadest amount of people. And it definitely has nothing to do with money. It’s about the perfect, intangible idea, and the glorious failures at reimagining that idea into words. Some of your failures will be wonderful. All of them will improve you as a creative writer. So we beat on, boats against the current.