"Write what you care about."
I read those words this morning in an email from the Highlight's for Children workshop email I get periodically. Author Jerry Spinelli said it doesn't matter what you write, if you care about what you're writing, it will do more than any query or any synopsis could ever do. "Bleed your words onto the page" he said. Hmmm, I've heard that one before...
What do we care about? Our families, our friends, our beliefs, our convictions. How do we put those into story? How do we take our deepest, most elemental level and cram it into 300+ pages that will grab a reader, wring them out dry and fill them full of whatever it is they need, crave, desire?
That's for the writer to decide. That's for the word weaver to determine. A pattern, a quilt, an intricate ivy that follows, not the bricks and mortar, but the delicate iron work it was planted around. The bricks and mortar. The book. The structure. The Elements of Style, the Shoots and the Leaves, the Woe is I. The iron work is the filigree, the waltz between craft. A reader doesn't know they care about syntax. But they do care about the dance. They care about the music.
What do you care about? Do you care about your work in progress? Did you at one time? If you don't any more, why not? Starred at it too long? Trying to write for a more popular genre than what you enjoy? Hmmm...a quandary indeed.
I find I don't care about my trilogy. I don't. Honest to goodness don't. I try to edit it and I cringe, shrug my shoulders, hurry through. Why, I ask. I was so passionate about it for so long and then...kaput. Nothing. Did I look at it too long? Did I pick it apart too much? Perhaps. But - and here's what troubles me - I'm not happy with it. It's a deep unsettling. Something is not right with it. What? I don't know. But I don't believe it.
How can you care about something if you don't believe it?
So, I ask you again, ask myself again, "What do you CARE about?"
If you once cared about your wip, why no longer? If you're writing and feel aimless, why? Take some time this weekend, just a little will do, and remember why you wrote that story to begin with. Chances are, it wasn't to be the next J.K. Rowling. It was to speak and be heard. Remember the message. Care again. And believe.