Every now and then, Hollywood gets it just right and slips a cosmic philosophy into an otherwise light production. Such is the case in Back to the Future III when Doc Brown suggests that the path “Back to the Future” from 1885 leads right over a cliff. When Marty protests, the Doc tells him that he's just not thinking fourth dimensionally. Like an addict recovering from his limited perspective on life, Marty takes the first of twelve steps when he admits that he has a real problem with that.
The Doc goes on to explain that when the Delorean time machine reaches 88 mph, it will be at the edge of the cliff, immediately transported back to the future, and the bridge to safe passage over the ravine will be in place. In essence, Doc is asking Marty for a leap of faith. Doing the hard work today, and envisioning the future result, will get Marty and the Doc where they want to go. They are working to realize a future that does not yet exist.
Writing a novel is much the same. The novel doesn’t exist until the author envisions it, pens it, and promotes it. Neither do the readers, since there is nothing yet to read. The desire to get to that currently non-existent future, and the faith to persist in the effort, are the qualities that create the future itself. Like three dimensional thinkers, many of an author’s friends and relations may not be able to grasp the concept of a fourth dimension, the time-space continuum, where one creates a future that alters the foundation of our assumptions about the present.
The novel can be done, if it will be done. A novel only exists in the future if the hard work is done today. Writing often involves tuning out the skeptics and the three dimensional thinkers. The writer must have faith that when the time comes, the future we create will be there to carry us safely over the ravine.