A couple of years ago I met with a literary agent about a semi-humorous food blog that I had been keeping. He thought the blog would make a great book idea, so I tried turning it into a book proposal. I sat down at the computer to write up the proposal and found out I did not care about the topic nearly enough to write a book proposal about it, let alone an entire book. I dropped the book proposal, and the blog soon after that.
Which reminds me…a couple of years before that, I kept another blog for a while. It was right after the 2004 election, and I, like a lot of people, was pretty upset that the American people had, inexplicably to me, decided to re-elect George W. Bush. I decided to channel this energy into an idea: the first blog solely devoted to the 2008 election. Looking back now, this was a very clever idea (and as such, got a brief burst of publicity on a couple of much bigger political blogs). But I didn’t have the expertise – or the passion – to execute it. I lost interest shortly after people actually started reading it. It fell apart even faster than the food blog.
After reading these two anecdotes, you may think of me as a lazy person. Here I found myself with a couple of projects that had real potential and I basically gave up on them as soon as they got a tiny bit of buzz. Well, you might be right. But there’s a fine line between being lazy and understanding what you are passionate about. When I decide I do care about something (like getting a job writing jokes for a late-night TV show) I’m perfectly willing to work hard on it. But if I don’t…then, yeah, I guess I am lazy.
When deciding whether to give up on a project, it’s important to ask yourself: am I going to use the time and energy that I would have spent on this working on other things that I’m more passionate about, or am I going to be on my couch watching the same Sports Center over and over again? If the latter is your answer, you should at least try to muster the passion to get up off the couch and look for the remote control. If it’s the former, then you’re not being lazy – you’re probably just being smart.
The length of the project is also a huge contributing factor. It’s easy to power your way through a page of ideas even when you’re not totally excited about the task. That’s what makes you a writer. But something massive like a book or a movie script? You gotta have that passion. Or a writing partner who can motivate you. Or, a giant check.
Did you notice that both of the projects I quickly lost interest in were blogs? Let’s hope that’s a coincidence…