One upon a time you were nothing but an idea. Perhaps your mother turned to your father and said, “Honey, I have an idea, and I think you’re going to like it!” You might say it was an inspired idea, being a mixture of love and desire and curiosity of how these two might combine. When your mother had this idea she did not know that you would be conceived, of if you would be a boy or a girl, or if you would be tall or short, quiet or talkative, artistic or analytical. All she had was one single idea that was of interest to her at that moment, and she acted on it.
Every single book ever written begins in such a fashion. The seed of an idea arrives one day in your mind and you say to yourself, “I like it.” This idea gestates in your subconscious for a time, then grows in your imagination, is formed gradually with thought upon thought upon thought, until a book is born. That book will now go wherever it must, meet its own friends, make its own way in the world. You can no more predict nor control its future than could a parent a child.
In fact, your only hope to truly influence this child called a book, your only power over the course of its destiny, is the love with which it was created. That love will be invisible to the human eye. No reader will be able to point directly to it on the page the way they could its title or your name upon the cover. No literature professor will dissect it, analyze it or critique it. And yet love is both the glue that holds these collection of sentences together into something called a story, and the energy that moves it forward into the world the same as it moved you forward toward the idea of a book.
For all of its acknowledged power, for all the songs and books and sermons we have written about it, love remains easily taken for granted. It is easier sometimes to treasure what we can hold. But you cannot hold your published book as you once held the love that bore it, the same as you cannot hold your child as you hold your love for that child. Everything will leave us someday but love, which is never further from us than a single thought.
Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion.
“A book to keep nearby whenever your writer’s spirit needs feeding.” Deb Caletti.