writing and the epiphany

Back from overseas and happy to say the continuing research for my chocolate book brought great results.

I have met with many talented, creative and innovative chocolate makers over the past year and have learned much about cocoa production and the chocolate industry.

I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and unsure as to how and when I would be able to organize it all and bring the project to fruition. Can so much information become too much information?

As writers, we all know that having a clear focus is the key to successful writing, and although I knew precisely what I wanted to write about, I was having difficulty fine-tuning my focus into a manageable project.

And then it hit me, while conducting an interview with a local chocolate maker in a small Italian city. He was so pure and so focused in the way he makes chocolate and the message he wishes to get across with it. He was not trying to produce all types of chocolate. He was not trying to be trendy. Yet, he was not stuck in tradition.

He is pure in spirit and technique. He is driven. He is what chocolate is all about — to me.

I had my epiphony while visiting Paul de Bondt in Pisa, Italy.

I had my epiphany while visiting Paul de Bondt in Pisa, Italy.

Spending two hours with this man — listening to his philosophy, tasting his many nuances of chocolate — was what I needed to fine-tune the focus for my work. It was my epiphany.

I am now ready to write the book. My focus is clear. The result will be nothing less than excellent.

How about you and your writing efforts? Have you worked on projects that seemed to take forever to get their mojos happening? Have you had an epiphany that took your work to the top? I look forward to your comments.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

9 Responses

  1. wizardofwords says:

    You're bang on, Mitch. I think it often takes a change of scenery to evoke a major breakthrough in our creativity. Good luck in continuing to find your mojo.

  2. Mitch Matlock says:

    I find that I lose focus quite often and I began to wonder if it was the company I was keeping. I am currently overseas and I must say, in this last month, I have been able to find my focus once again. It was forced considering that I have not had access to a television,or radio, and my computer access is limited to internet cafes so my time is limited. I have returned to the way I love to write- good old paper and pen. I have written some great stuff in this time, however, I will share at a later date. My epiphany happened and that is for Mee to gain focus, I must clear my surroundings, thus freeing my mind to create something beautiful. Ciao

  3. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks so much, Erin!

    And thanks also to Margaret for joining in the conversation. Yes, I'm really fortunate to have found this particular chocolate maker. It's amazing how one individual can make the turning point in a project so pronounced.

  4. Erin Reel says:

    What a great way to learn about focus and clarity of voice! A great lesson. I'm posting this to my FB, Doreen.

  5. Margaret Ullrich says:

    I agree with Bonnie.

    Sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing. Just put a project away and let the mind rest in the bigger picture instead of focusing on one project (I also love knitting).

    It sounds like the chocolate maker just knows what he likes to do and does it.
    He has found his bliss and follows it.

    You're right – you don't have to include the whole world in a book.

  6. wizardofwords says:

    Carole Anne: Nice to have you onboard. I really do have to research some chocolate in the UK. Have heard that Fortnum & Mason is good. Have you tried it and if so, what do you think?

    Hi Bonnie: Yes, I take that same approach with smaller projects. Just leave it until the moment is right and the inspiration has come. But it's definitely a different process with larger projects like a book.

    Sherri: Thanks for asking about the focus for my new project. As I haven't yet accepted a contract for the book, I'm keeping the premise close to the chest. But I can tell you that it was the chocolate maker's conviction to his way of doing things that made me realize I don't have to include the whole world in the first edition of this book. I know there will definitely be follow-up editions, and I am comfortable knowing I can include additional material at that time.

    By making my book more tightly focused, it will be more powerful and have more of an impact on the readers.

    Thanks to all who have joined the conversation. I look forward to hearing from others.

  7. Sherri Helwig says:

    Still waiting for my own epiphany for my current research – if you can call it research (still in the stage of "reading everything and making lots of notes that I hope someday to settle into themes, and waiting for that shiny day when the clouds part and the angels sing and a beam of light shines on one sentence that is central to everything". It's happened before! 🙂

    I'd love to know more about how your epiphany worked – what about the focus and drive of this chocolate maker lead to your own focus and drive? Was his behaviour a model for your own, or (without giving away everything about your book!) did you use something of his AS your focus?

  8. Bonnie Thompson Zink says:

    Yes, indeed, I have had many projects that seem to languish and "seemed to take forever to get their mojos happening." Too many to count, really. 🙂

    The trick for me is to walk away from it. I leave it languish in the unfinished folder until I have discovered the key to unlocking the room of inspiration in the dark recesses of my mind.

    I'll houseclean (I do love to create a sparkle and shine!), take a walk, concentrate completely on a different project, or knit (yes, knit – settling into miles and miles of stockinette stitch has a way of clarifying things). At some point the lock turns and the room of inspiration provides me with a clear and obvious way to get the writing done.

    I am always surprised at just how wonderful that moment is.

  9. Carole Anne Carr says:

    Mmmmm.. it's National Chocolate Week here from the 11th – can't wait!

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