When a Timeline is Part of a Writer’s Inspiration
Since I’m a new writer, I’ve spent tons of time consulting writers I know and reading the wisdom of other established writers I love online. One of the number one pieces of advice I come across: you can’t time a book; it’s done when it’s ready. So many authors reference the ebb and flow of the urge to write, to edit, to slip into a window of inspiration that will drive your writing to new heights, and help you understand how and when the story is complete.
But what happens when part of your inspiration includes a finish date? Ignition was conceived as a series in the purest sense of the word “vision” -- in one moment, the concept and many of the details arose as out of thin air. One of those details included a release time in mid 2017.
We ran with these ideas, and as we continued to write and edit, we kept that completion date at the fore of our minds. The vision of the deadline fed into our inspiration, and the story and the date worked in equal measure as energy sources pulling us forward.
There were even planned initiatives based on the book’s lessons in relation to this date. For instance, one of the main themes in the first book is the rehabilitation of common good in a world threatened by pure darkness and evil. Correspondingly, the idea to open the Echo Center, a space dedicated to fostering a new worldview rooted in public service and generosity arose. On a no-fee, voluntary contribution and donation-in-kind basis, it will provide a place for underprivileged children to spend vacations and school breaks learning together, studying bible lessons and connecting with nature. Since writing the first book and opening the center, our vision continued to grow.
As Ignition is part of a series, there are also other books to produce and time. Right now we only have the definite vision of mid 2017 as the release date of book one, so I’m curious to see what will happen if we don’t have a flash of inspiration for the timing of the second book.
All of which leads me to the question that seems to go against all of the writerly wisdom suggesting that books grown in time organically, wildly, and are done when they’re done:
What if a book was meant to land in the world at a certain time?
What if the shaping of Ignition is as dependent on our ability to keep pushing forward as it is on our ability to really dig into the message and atmosphere we want to capture?
What if the vision is leading toward releasing the book at the exact time some teenage guy needs it most? What if our time constraints are just as integral as any other variable influencing the writing and editing process?
It might sound a little crazy, but I have to say, it’s working so far. We’ll see how I feel as the vision deadline looms closer and closer, but as of now, I’m loving writing and editing on the clock.