The most daunting ideas turn into the best books

dreamy night sky

You chase it down the street, or you knit it from the fiber of your own will

When a project feels compelling but too scary, for practical or moral reasons, I keep it on the back burner but don’t give up on it. I pondered The Poisonwood Bible for ten years before I felt ready to tackle it. During that time I collected clippings, books, and jotted down thoughts I hoped would someday help me frame the big questions I wanted to ask. In the meantime, I wrote novels and nonfiction books that were more modest in scope, with more familiar settings and fairly linear, manageable story arcs. The most important part of this paragraph is: “but don’t give up on it.” The most daunting ideas turn into the best books.

Backing up a few more years, I can tell you that long before I felt ready to write my first whole book, at around age 30, I wrote short stories, poems, articles, reviews, anything. Writing is writing, it all adds up. Freelance journalism was the best training for becoming a novelist. Every day I had to pull on my boots and go make myself an “expert” in whatever an editor had assigned me to write about. The essential ingredient of authorship is authority. You hunt it out in a library, you chase it down the street, or you knit it from the fiber of your own will. From somewhere, you get it. You begin.

by Barbara Kingsolver (born April 8, 1955)
from 10 Questions with Barbara Kingsolver
Goodreads Newsletter, November, 2009
used by permission
image – Computer Science Geek

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2 Responses to “The most daunting ideas turn into the best books”

  1. Abimbola Akanwo Says:

    Too true…

  2. Listen so deeply to the space around you that it fills you, and when you write, it pours out of you - Natalie Goldberg Says:

    […] The most daunting ideas turn into the best books by Barbara Kingsolver […]

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