I look back at the first (And only… How embarrassing…) post I did for this blog with mixed emotions. I uploaded it a week after I finished my initial manuscript. If you’ve ever finished one, you know the feeling. I was super excited about it, talking to all my friends about it, and couldn’t wait until it was done. I really thought that it was close to where it needed to be, and that the editing would only take a few weeks.
If you could see me now, I’m pinching the bridge of my nose as I read, “Over the next week I hope to have it edited for the first time”. What was I thinking?! I mean, I know I was really into the work and all, but could I really have thought I could edit a full novel in a week? I was incredibly naïve about the whole process.
Look. It’s embarrassing. I know that. But there’s something really valuable that I learned from reading that post. Back then I had a childlike drive for writing. All I wanted to do was write- all day, every day. I loved my characters, loved my story, and loved the whole process of writing it. Now, that’s not to say that I thought my work was great by any means. I knew that my first draft was AWFUL, and that it would need a SERIOUS amount of work in order to be where it needed to be. But even though I knew that, I still loved everything about it. Even though I knew that some of my characters were inconsistent, or that certain chapters would need heavy revisions, I still loved them. I think that this enthusiasm for writing is something that is crucial for a writer to have. I know it is, actually, because I lost it.
After I finished the manuscript I was full of this bounding love for my story and my work. I was even excited to sit down and edit all seventy thousand words of it. Can you imagine that? Being stoked for the editing process? But then, out of the shadows, a creeping wave of doubt got into my head. I suddenly began to question if I was good enough at writing or if people would even WANT to read my story. And then it was over. I put down the work and didn’t touch it for two years. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t convince myself that I had something worth working towards. It was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. Even though it all worked out and I’m back working at it again, I made the mistake of letting fear get in the way of my love for my work.
I think my point here is that you should never give up on yourself or your work. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from loving what you’ve created. After all, YOU created it. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished. I told my wife tonight, while we were having a conversation about me starting this blog up again, that you shouldn’t be writing for anyone else but you. Write something that you’re proud of- something that you yourself would want to read. And if you do that, with confidence and love for your work, people won’t be able to resist it. By letting the fear of failure get to me I kept myself from writing for almost two years. A wasted two years, in my opinion. And now that I’m back at it again, I realize how wonderfully fulfilling writing can be. I realize how much this world and these characters really mean to me. And I’m ashamed of myself for having given up on them for so long. Don’t let your fear or inhibitions stop you. Go after your story with childlike enthusiasm, with no worries about what the end result will be or who will read it. Write because you love to write. That’s all that matters.