I settled down to read The Society of the Spectacle, the classic work on how modern society’s economy becomes all spectacle with little substance. I’m sure I’ll have more to discuss, but I’d like to tell you about a reaction.
The book is broken into short chapters and numbered bits of analysis never more than a few paragraphs long. While reading the analysis of how we commodify the world or turn economy to spectacle, I had ideas. I had ideas for a book or two I could start writing . . .
Then, I stopped. Why did I have to write now? In fact, why the hell did I have to write these books without further analysis? Also, did I have to read a book on commodities and want to make one?
I found other writers have this situation. You have the realization a book can exist, and then you think you have to do it. The cause varies, but the problem is the same.
If you find yourself in this situation, ask why you’re trying to write.
My motivation? I want to know my works will benefit people and was evaluating my various projects. My inspirations rode that desire right into “I must do this now,” and I only realized it a while later and stopped.
Part of being a writer is knowing what not to write. Give yourself a chance to develop that skill, even if you have to ask some hard questions.