I am truly curious to know how much of the time people embarking on new journeys are faking it. I have been talking about writing a book for a few years now and, in the past six months, have taken some minor, preliminary steps toward actually working on it, but now I've really pulled the pin on the grenade, as it were. In truth, that sounds more definitive than anyone else could probably understand. It's not as if I've gotten a publishing deal and have deadline or anything. No, it's more frightening than that: I have begun telling people that I'm writing this book. That turns it into something that they expect and, let me just say that nothing terrifies me more than having others expect something of me. Now I have to do this, and I have to do it well.
The problem is, I don't really feel qualified. I've set up interviews in spite of the fact that I've never interviewed anyone for real. I have no idea what type of research I ought to be doing, either, and am a little worried that I might overlook something terrifically obvious to everyone else. I am simply hoping that as I take this leap my instincts will kick in and I will have tightly screwed on my listening ears. I want to believe that other writers feel this way and just go along writing until some sign jumps out at them and points to a particular path. I hope that I will be able to stay focused during my interviews and react to unexpected answers with insightful follow-up questions. I hope that as important issues come up I will find ways to address them without having a specific agenda.
I recall reading Hope Edelman's book "Motherless Daughters" and wondering how she was able to get such depth of feeling and detail from the women she interviewed. How did she know which professionals to seek out for important information. Is there a class somewhere that gave her a checklist of things to be sure to accumulate? I am not very good at going with the flow. I am the type of person that needs a roadmap with several different routes highlighted the day before my trip starts. I would like to run through each possible set of directions to set up a contingency plan and then I will agree to find the destination. Unfortunately, I have the feeling this particular journey not only lacks directions, but an actual final destination as well. I will just need to buckle up and enjoy the ride, turning the radio down so that I can hear my inner GPS system when it tells me to stop and look at something I might have whizzed on past in my haste to "get there". I'm going to have to trust myself which may prove to be more valuable than anything I will end up putting on paper. I'll keep you posted, potholes and all. Wish me luck!