Yep. It’s February and my draft folder is bursting at the seams. Just when it’s time to do the final edits, I get oddly attracted to doing something other than writing. Like laundry.
Deciding that a story is done is a bit like saying “it’s perfect!” (which of course nothing ever is), and the most terrifying thing about finishing a story is accepting that it, truthfully and honestly, is the best story I could create at a given time and that despite all my efforts, it might not be any good. Admitting that I have done my best, and accepting that the end result might be like a burnt Sunday morning pancake (lots of promise, massive fail) is never easy. And so I procrastinate, move on to writing a new story and leave the final edits for tomorrow that never comes.
Sometimes I wonder if published writers with agents and editors have it any easier. Probably not, but at least they have someone there to say if something sucks. Someone who cares and will warn you when your writing is repetitive, boring, and awful (in the form of constructive criticism I hope, rather than whipping the poor writer to death). Whereas at the moment it is just me, alone by the computer, hoping that I had an editor to tell me “that paragraph needs revision”, “that’s not English”, “I fell asleep during the second chapter — change it”. At times I think what I manage to produce is quite good, and at times horrendous and a waste of time.
My advice for others working on creative projects would be to be kind to yourself and just finish whatever you are working on anyway. Living according to one’s own teachings can occasionally be challenging (do as I say, not as I do!) and though sometimes I am convinced that I have produced a pile of dinosaur doo-doo instead of a good story, there is hope out there. As my friend lovingly pointed out, “it can’t be as bad as Twilight”.
I sure hope so.
Thank you Jurassic Park
There isn’t a kind and loving Dumbledore type of figure whispering reassuring words into one’s ear. A good editor is more valuable than gold but most of writing is solitary paddling in muddy waters with a vague destination in mind, with an inner critic that isn’t always the gentlest as the heavy passenger in a boat that barely carries two.
This month’s writing soundtrack from Inception keeps me paddling along, and is quite a sensory journey in itself. Many off the tracks start off almost meditative, and then explode into a firework of sound; electric guitar and strings.