Well, I’ve finished it for now. It still needs work and it might even need more words, or some taking away, but it’s finished enough for me to show it to someone else. And since I’ve been writing it for almost two years, I thought I would celebrate a little bit. Woo hoo!
Writing is a funny thing. Like a lot of creative processes, it often relies solely on you – your idea, your ability to get the idea across, your talent with words. If the story doesn’t come out right, there’s no one else to blame – it’s completely down to you. And there are times when I’m writing that I doubt whether I can tell the story the way it needs to. Sometimes, I’m not sure if it’s even the right story. I even start to think I cannot remember how to write. I get The Fear.
The Fear is all of those things and more. It’s worrying your book is not good enough. It’s feeling like no one will read it. It’s being scared no one will like it. And because books are really part of the person who writes them, it’s thinking that no one will like YOU. The Fear can hit you at any stage of writing a book but when I’m writing, it tends to go like this:
1) I love this idea – this is going to be the Best Story EVER!
2) I hate this idea – no one is going to like my character\believe the plot\get it
3) Hmmm – maybe it’s not so bad
4) I love this story – everyone is going to love it!
5) I hate myself – I can’t tell the story right. I am giving up.
6) Hmmm – maybe it’s not so bad
7) Yay, it’s finished…I wonder if anyone is going to like it?
So now it’s with my very first reader and I’m nibbling my nails, wondering if she is going to like it. And I’ve started writing something else, because otherwise I’d send myself crazy worrying about what she’s going to say. Then I’ll start fixing all the things my reader tells me are wrong with it (she knows a lot about stories). And then it might be ready to send to some other people to read. Because the things about stories is that they’re never really finished – there’s always something we can change, a sentence or a word we can fix to make it better.
There’s a great quote from John Lasseter, who works for Pixar (the movie studio that makes films like Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Up) and he says, ‘Our films don’t get finished, they just get released’, because there’s always something else they could change and then the movie would never be released.
Books are a bit like that. It’s never 100% perfect but that’s OK, sometimes you have to let go anyway. No matter how bad The Fear makes you feel. And anyway, I have this new idea to think about. I love it, it’s going the be the Best Story EVER…