Among the things I learned from my late husband is the extreme importance of finishing things. I’m thinking in terms of creativity and writing. Over a long period of time, I witnessed a repeating pattern in my writer husband. Always, in the beginning, he would be enthralled with a great idea for a book. As the excitement or the newness wore off, invariably so did his interest. Often, when he would be more than half-way through, he would get inspired to begin anew. Then, he’d go along at a consistent pace and maybe get a little further along before stopping and determining the material of the book actually required a different treatment. Usually during the third version, I’d discover he’d abandoned it completely in favor of chasing after another idea for a book to write. I never knew him to revisit any of his nearly-completed manuscripts.
Perhaps some people cannot finish things for reasons of their stars, up-bringing or life lessons. One thing is for sure: there is no sense of accomplishment when you are a great starter but do not finish the race. I recently observed this same tendency in my sister who had recently been bitten by the writing bug. She would stop before she started and rewrite. I don’t know how many different versions of chapter one she’d rewritten. Too many. I advised her to silence the critic/editor inside her head. Insist that internal interfering and disruptive editor go take a hike. Now is the time for the writer in her to flourish, unimpeded.
After listening to her other concerns, I knew she was making her doubts interfere on another level. She was fretting about marketing and self-publishing and what if this and what if that… Daunting, that is how she described what she was going through. No wonder she felt depleted, low-energy, disheartened and uninspired.
I advised her to allow herself to remember the reasons why her book was important to begin with. I said, “Reconnect with that impulse to create and allow the purity of your original motivation to allow your genius to soar. Do not concern yourself with practical matters. That comes later, much later. For now, write the book. Work on your craft. Persevere. When you feel resistance, push against it to achieve success.”
The process of writing a book is arduous. The task is long and challenging enough without the extra stress of worry. Fire that critic inside you if he tries to usurp the creative process. Silence any dissenting voices. Banish any doubts. Make no room for negativity. Concentrate on recovering the joy in the doing. Then bless the world with your creation.
I write this as a recovering procrastinator. I write this for the times I’ll need to be reminded that the way out of the unproductive, maze of self-doubt is simply by finding joy in the doing.