One of my challenges is making peace with being done with a project vs. being finished. I struggle with being an unpublished novelist. More accurately, I’m an unfinished novelist. It’s hard to get published if you can’t finish writing a book. If you’re wondering, I have started nine novels, six of which suck-ass so bad, lining a gerbil cage is too good for them. I’m not exaggerating, honestly. Gerbil shit is too good for them.
Those six books are done. I learned what I needed to and moved on.
I’ve gotten progressively better and closer to finished with the last 3 books. My last project was looked at by publishers, found lacking but I was encouraged to reevaluate, rewrite and resend. Good news, right? Their general complaint, it wasn’t finished. Ugh….smack…at race car speed…into the wall of my worst flaw: Finishing the Fucking Project.
I’ve tried to figure out what my problem is: I’ve read self help books, writing books, self-help-writing books. I’ve tried therapy, group therapy and writing-group therapy (I made up or haven’t discovered one yet). I’ve taken on-line classes, community college classes, community center classes. I’ve gone on retreats, to an isolated cabin in Maine (most productive and loneliest week of my life). For YEARS, I woke up at 3:30 (yes AM) to write before the kids got up. I can produce pages, write a first draft fairly quickly, dig in and work on the second draft but the third and final polished draft, that’s where I run out of steam.
What do I think is holding me back from finishing a writing project? Burnout, boredom, beginnings are more fun, ADD, lack of will? I don’t think so. Is my problem, time, talent, discipline and my pea size brain; probably. Do I give too much of my emotional energy to my family; definitely. And that’s not going to change any time soon.
Have I learned anything along the way? Yes; luck helps, perseverance is key, and keeping distractions to a minimum is imperative. The bigger question for me is, will I go back and revaluate, rewrite and resend my ninth book or will I start number ten. Do I give more ammo to the bad voices in my head (does that make me sound crazy?) and work on a new and exciting project? Or do I go back to a project that I have no idea or desire to fix?
Done vs. Finished…dilemma or copout?
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