I’ve set myself a crazy goal, which is to rewrite my entire book from word one by the end of this month. Consider it my own personal NaNoWriMo.
It’s just that the roaring inside my head — mawkishly paraphrasing Rilke to insist, repeatedly, that ‘you must change your book’ — is too loud to ignore. And I can’t do anything else until I heed it.
In 1968 Oliver Sacks gave himself an even crazier goal: that if he didn’t finish his book draft in 14 days, he had to kill himself. (You can hear the full story here, plus Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert on a gentler way of courting genius.) Now for personal reasons, the terms of Sack’s deal aren’t really appropriate in my case. But the motivation is similar. Not writing the book has become harder than writing it; and submitting to the pressure, finally, brings a blessed relief.