Thursday, December 29, 2011
Fear of Finishing
My current WIP was started about three years ago and isn't even half finished yet. It's my WIP because I have the most done on it. I have other partial stories, novels, kernels of ideas that are much older. I can't even remember when I wrote the oldest but the oldest I can remember was written in an English Lit class in college some fifteen years ago. Fifteen years and I still haven't finished even a short story. I am constantly coming up with new ideas for stories and books, sagas even, but I just can't seem to follow through and finish anything. I enjoy the process of writing once I make myself sit down and do it. There's nothing quite like achieving flow in my writing and looking up hours later and not even knowing what time it is. The feeling I get when I come up with a great line or a great scene can make me smile for hours. So, why am I like this? Why can't I actually bring the story on in? Am I alone in this?
I suppose I could blame it on procrastination, laziness, or being to busy and stressed from my day job when I had a day job. I don't really think those are the answers though. Now, more than ever, I must be honest with myself. Those are convenient excuses. What I've determined after many hours of conscientious navel-gazing is that I am afraid of what comes after I finish a book. It's not actual rejection that I fear. It's the accumulation of rejection by traditional publishers, lack of sales should I self-publish and the building realization that "it's never gonna happen". If I never finish anything then making my living as a writer remains an attainable dream. If I finish something or many things and no one is interested, the dream will die and then what?
I'm writing about this and putting it out there as an effort to overcome the fear. I have already squandered too much precious time that could have been devoted to nothing but writing. When I left Chicago and my career behind I told myself it was a blessing because how many people get the opportunity to take time like that to write? And what have I done with it? Not much, not enough, not what I should have done. So, before my time runs out, I must face the fear head on, write and get past it, finish something and put it out there because fear is the mind-killer and a dream kept on a shelf isn't much of a dream after all.