I’m getting very excited about Smitten. I could have had it published by now, but my publisher believes it had tremendous potential. Because of that I’ve been refining every scene and every sentence to make sure it’s the best work I can produce.

One might say that my first two novels were good efforts, but I really didn’t have the confidence to make them perfect. If you don’t know what potential you have, you may lack the confidence to maximize your effort. I think that’s were my head was at. Apparently, I’ve gotten much better very quickly. I owe my improvement to my support group – my wife who edits my work, my critique group that unmercifully tells me what doesn’t work, and my friends who don’t seem to tire of my questions.

In Smitten, I didn’t write about things I knew. I wrote about things I felt. That left me free to explore emotions that were difficult to express in my first two novels. Writing Smitten was the most enjoyable work I have ever experienced. Emotion I haven’t felt in decades starting moving from hidden places in my psyche onto the page. Being that it’s partly a “coming of age” story reminded me of my first infatuations, early sexual fantasies, and rivalries.

One thing I had almost forgotten over the years is that a little sexual tension in the day can change a boring day into one of optimism and hope. I’m not talking about the manifestation of desires, it’s all about harmless flirting and thinking someone is flirting back. This is your imagination at work, transforming an innocent exchange into an inspiration of adventure that wouldn’t have been there if you hadn’t given into that flirtation.

Imagination might be the difference in one’s happiness. When one’s imagination is restricted or limited to fearful things, the result is a negative or protective mood.  Opening one’s mind to imagine yourself in enjoyable circumstances transforms a mood to engaging and playful prospects. How one gets to this position is the issue. If it’s not your natural personality, can it be conjured up? I believe it can, but it takes initiative.

The first step is to remember to try it. The second step is think of things you wish you could be doing that are enjoyable to you. The third and last step is to imagine how you would appear if you were engaged in the enjoyable activity. Just getting to the last step is all it takes. I’m no medical person or psychiatrist, but I imagine that endorphins are activated and released into your bloodstream that create the illusion of pleasure. Before you know it, you’re hunting for real or more imagined encounters that perpetuate the feeling of pleasure.

This is the point that you, the reader, asks why I think I know this works. Here’s the simple answer – I’m in the imagination business. That’s what authors do. We’re constantly looking for inspiration. We need that inspiration to fuel our efforts. For me to transform an inspiration into a novel, it has to be a huge and special inspiration. It has to be so big that it sustains me for an entire year. That’s about how long it takes me to finish a novel.  Not all my days are inspirational, but I’ve learned that if I keep my mind open, hunting and adventurous, I’ll find inspiration.

I’ve learned one beautiful thing about this process. When I’ve been inspired sufficiently to fuel a novel, I’m in a state of perpetual bliss. I can’t wait to find time to write, and in between the times I’m writing, without knowing it, I’m opening up my mind to explore more and more possibilities.

Here’s where I make apologies to my family, friends and acquaintances. I might be sitting next to you imagining. Imagining all sorts of things. You might be inspiring me without knowing it. If you knew what I was imagining, I hope you would approve, but in reality it’s not necessary. The good part for me is that it improves my mood, my attitude and my writing. Is that selfish? It might be, so I apologize.

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