Books

Writing: The Fear of Finishing

I’ve been thinking lately about what it feels like to finish a book. While the thought is liberating after spending a year (or more) with the text and kind of being sick and tired of it, yet letting go of editing and moving on is hard because of all the questions going on inside my head. What then? I know my life suddenly doesn’t turn into some fairy tale, and there’s a happily ever after. Life doesn’t work that way. Happiness is the process, and not some goal far away. Or it’s so to me. So, in a way I know there’s another book waiting, and have something to move on, but that means letting go of the book I’m writing now and living with the consequences of my work. Not easy at all.

Which moves me to my second question: What if it isn’t good enough? What if all the work I’ve put into it has been a waste of time? My biggest fear is that the story isn’t compelling enough. That readers find all the economic pondering and political play boring despite coating it with necromancy and personal growth and failures. Who the heck reads comic fantasy about bankers and undead where the protagonist is a cynical, crude female? Making my third question relevant: What if this book doesn’t succeed, proving all the doubters right?

It’s hard to accept that writing takes time and the success rate isn’t that high in this field, but despite knowing all this I’ve accepted that and took a chance. But in my weakest hours, I hear those doubts in my head and look for escape routes out of my life. And that can sometimes mean stalling with the editing and looking for jobs or thinking re-educating myself to something useful like pharmacist (yeah, licensed drug pusher!) or a nuclear physicist (I will glow.)

The thing is. I know my book would stay in my desk drawer if I was employable. I’d let all those questions stop me from finishing my book, but as I’ve tried to get a job since the year 2013 and failed to get any even cleaning jobs (something to do with overqualification), having written hundreds of applications, I know my only out in life is writing or re-educating myself (Okay, stopped actively trying to get a job 3 years ago, and concentrated on my writing. Now and then applying to those positions which interest me.) And I reason that anyone should give themselves a chance to succeed in what they dream. I have that opportunity now to give myself time and space to write and try to get my book to those readers who’d enjoy it. So, that’s why I have to push the fear of finishing and all my doubts away. If I let myself be swept into those questions, what’s the point? I can’t let fear dictate my life, not when the odds are already stacked against me.

But sometimes the sheer enormity of writing and publishing can be too much. I only have to open up my Twitter and see the desperation in the writing community’s tweets. And I get it why so many good books never see the light of day. I’m not sure if there is a magical cure for the enormity or desperation. Sometimes I think the faith of one person is enough to carry on. Other times I think pure determination is what counts. Occasionally it’s the love for writing, but any writer knows that writing can also be painful. But often enough I think it’s the thought that there’s nothing else for me that pushes on. What do you have to lose?

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