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Should I keep trying to fix the book or just start writing a new one?

  1. Fix the book

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  2. Start a new one

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  1. kevinellerton
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    kevinellerton New Member

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    To plow through or to start over?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by kevinellerton, Nov 7, 2014.

    Hello people of the writingforums.org! My name's Kevin, and I'm new here. I just created this account because I am struggling with writing my first book, and I'm having a hard time figuring out how to proceed.

    BOOK TITLE: Awakening, Demystified
    SUBJECT: Spiritual Awakening (defining, explaining, and guiding through the process)
    GENRE: Self-Help, Philosophy, Psychology, Spirituality

    After finishing my first draft (200+ pages over the course of about 4 months), I realized that my whole book was philosophically unsound.

    PROBLEM #1: I had written the book as an attempt to pin down a concrete definition (and explanation) for "spiritual awakening," and to give people a method for experiencing it. The problem is, I began to realize as I was finishing up the book that the definition I had presented for the term "spiritual awakening" (which essentially unfolds through the entire book) is just one of many possible definitions. Now, that wouldn't be much of a problem if I had framed the book as "this was MY experience of spiritual awakening," but having framed the book as "this is what spiritual awakening IS," I find that the entire book is faulty.

    PROBLEM #2: When I had started writing the book, my enthusiasm and motivation came from my feeling that the "awakening" I had experienced involved a shift from "illusion" to "reality" (something like waking up from a dream). That's what the experience felt like to me. Over the course of writing the book, however, I began to think about my experience from a more logical, intellectual standpoint. Now when I think about "awakening," I no longer think of it as a shift from "illusion" to "reality;" instead, I have come to see it as a shift from one subjective reality to another. "Reality is in the eye of the beholder," that kind of thing. Essentially, I began writing the book from the standpoint of objectivism ("there is an objective truth and I will define it"), and when I finished writing the book my thinking on the subject had evolved to a kind of subjectivism ("reality is in the eye of the beholder"). This wouldn't be much of a problem if I had framed the book as "these spiritual practices and perspectives may bring more happiness into your life," but having framed the book as "these spiritual practices and perspectives will allow you to awaken to reality," I find that the entire book is faulty.

    I've spent the last ten months trying to "fix" the book by:

    - going back and revising it sentence-by-sentence to reflect my new, more "philosophically mature" subjectivistic perspective

    - re-writing the entire book from scratch with the new (relatively bland and awesome-less) thesis: "spiritual awakening is, essentially, a pair of words that have been used to refer to many different kinds of experiences, which tend to share the characteristic of shifting the perspective of the experiencer from one subjective reality to another"

    The fundamental trouble I've been having with these revisions and rewrites is that I'm no longer excited about the material. I was originally motivated and excited to write about awakening from illusion to reality, but now that I have begun to see "illusion" and "reality" as subjective rather than objective, I no longer care to write about it and "help people wake up" to any particular subjective reality.

    SO, after all that long-winded background explanation, my question for you wonderful peoplefolk is:

    Should I:

    (a) keep pushing as hard as I can to try to "fix" the book with the hope of eventually making it good enough for publication, or

    (b) just say "fuck it" and let it go, move on to the next book, having learned my lesson from this one and hopefully choosing more realistic subjects as I move into the future?

    Please let me know your thoughts.

    Thank you very much for reading, I appreciate your input.

    Namaste.
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Kevin,

    For me, the first problem that you've got is that you're pitching this as "Self-help", but the ideas by which the this help is obtained aren't explained fully...because you don't even know what they are...you're ending up saying "Well, this was my experience..." so it's largely autobiographical, and unless you're a very interesting person (you may be, I don't know, so no judgement implied) autobiography is a really tough gig.

    I don't know whether Hitler's philosophy was fully-formed when he began writing "Mein Kampf", but I suspect that he had a better idea of where he was going than you do.

    Re-reading what I've just written, and your 2 options, my advice is (b), move on.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'll echo Shadowfax. It seems you're having really intense difficulty with this, so put it away and move on to another project.
     
  4. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    I agree with what the other posters have said. Perhaps distancing yourself from this would help in the long run.

    I apologize if this is what you meant by going over it sentence by sentence but if you do choose to keep working on it I would suggest working on it section by section rather than sentence by sentence. I can't see going over it in such small pieces really getting you anywhere when it sounds like it needs a complete overhaul.
     
  5. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Hot potato! Drop it and move on. Fiction you can fix, flawed self help books, I've not seen a book on that subject yet...Sorry.
     
  6. kevinellerton
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    kevinellerton New Member

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    Thanks for the advice :) I've been struggling with the idea of dropping it because I'm really trying to get into the habit of finishing what I start. With all of your encouragement though (and the encouragement of my friends to whom I've posed the same question) I am now much more confident to walk away from the project and start something new.

    Namaste.
     

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