This is the title to my memoir. I called it! You can’t have it.
I recently read a piece of writing advice that inspired this post. I’ll give you the piece of advice so we all have some context for things. The advice is: Have more than one project to work on; that way while you’re waiting for edits and notes from your agent/publisher/partner/reading group you have something to keep you busy, to keep your mind ready and writing.
First, I love this advice! I have this blog (where I try to share helpful thoughts and lessons I have/learned in my lifelong journey writing). I also love to pen and paper roleplay (I know, big surprise), and I’m usually the Game/Dungeon Master so I’m the one coming up with the scenarios. Even my hobby is writing, because I just can’t enough.
I’m not crazy! You’re crazy!
Anyway, if you look at the archives there is a post about over preparing, and this one is going to be in the same vein as that.
My wife has a work associate with which we’ve spent some time. She works part-time and considers herself a writer. To be fair to her, she does write. She’s participated in NaNoWriMo a few years in a row, and has several partial novels from that, as well as a couple novels between 50 and 100 and some pages that she just felt inspired to start.
Can anyone see where this is going?
As far as I know, as of this writing, she hasn’t finished one project I’ve ever heard her talk about. While it’s great she has so many ideas-SHE HAS TO FINISH THEM! Seriously, just like in the “preparing post”, this lack of finishing even one project speaks to a fear of failure. We’ve all been there, half way through a story and the thoughts creep in…
What if it isn’t good?
What if it doesn’t make sense?
What if no one wants to read it?
What if I can’t get published?
What if it’s fucking good?!
What if it’s the next great novel of our generation?!
What if it inspires someone else to follow their dreams and they become a doctor and cure ignorance?
The point is, you, we, us will never know any of that if you don’t FINISH.
Which, I guess, if you’re continuously not finishing the stories you start that’s what you want. You’re scared that people won’t like your story, that people won’t like you, that you’ll fail, but if you never finish a story you never have to share it, share yourself. I can understand that. My survival instinct, the way I approach every situation even now, is to not make a big deal out of things, to not make a big deal out of me. I fade into the background, keep my head down, and live and let live. At the end of the day though, I yearn to have a voice, to be heard, and so, I write.
Failure can be scary, but I have to let you know: Failure isn’t not making it; failure is to stop trying.
So, finish. Finish your story before someone else does. I want to hear as many voices as I can. More! I want to drown in a sea of voices sharing their stories, sharing themselves.
Write yourself, write well. Be yourself, be well.