Do you have a magnum opus? I do. It’s a writing project I have that is very near and dear to my heart. It’s a project so HUGE that it will take years for me to write. It’s a project so important that it helps me feel validated as a writer no matter how many other manuscripts get rejected throughout the year.
I have chosen to “guard” my magnum opus from the eyes of the world until it is complete. I rarely take it to critique groups. I rarely discuss it with other writers. In fact, I work hard at making sure nobody has the opportunity to reject or criticize it. (I won’t even tell you what my magnum opus is.) This frees me up to really let my creative side create. I try not to let myself worry that if what I’m writing is any good or not. I just try to say what I really, really want to say. I’m doing my best as I can at this moment in time, and that’s enough.
My greatest friend for my magnum opus had been and still is my outline. (It took me three full months to develop it) As I come across new information or get new ideas, I quickly open my outline and plug that information into the right spot. And when I eventually get to that spot ready to write that page of the manuscript, I’ll find that idea or bit of information there in the outline waiting for me. After several years of working on my magnum opus, my outline is now over 200 pages. It allows my project to grow over the years with me as I am growing as a writer.
And growing I am! Somehow I’m different since I started working on my magnum opus. I feel a maturity as a writer I never truly felt before. I know I’m doing something important. I know I’m working on something worthwhile. I know I have self-worth as a writer.
If you don’t yet have a magnum opus, I encourage you to find it. Take your time looking for it. You’ll know it when you see it. It will be an idea that you’ll want to work on that will make a difference somehow, someway, in the lives of others. It will be a manuscript you can pour your heart into a little bit at a time, year after year while you’re working on other, smaller projects, until it’s just the way you want it to be.