Last I finished typing the rough draft of my book. i hit the work count button and was quite proud of the 90,000+ words that had poured from me. This whole book has been not just a labor of love, to sound cliche, but also a challenge to myself. I wanted to see if I had it within myself to finish writing a book. I am a 50 hour (if not more) a week working mom who tries to fit in time for her friends. There isn’t much free time. It would have been really easy for me to get distracted from finishing it. I finished writing it though. I cried when I wrote “the end.”
Last night I started the arduous task of editing. The oh-so-exciting part of writing. I love reading. I hate proofreading. I made it through a few pages by the time my eyes got tired and my contacts started to feel like sandpaper. I shut down the laptop, peeled the contacts from my eyes and went to bed. That’s when self-doubt started setting in.
I’m a terribly insecure person. The thought of people reading what I write scares the hell out of me. The only reason I can do it here is because I have no idea who you are, reader. I have nothing to lose, there is nothing at risk, by posting a short story or poem here for you to read. My friends and family that know I took on this book writing goal, though, are a completely different story. They are all soooooo excited to read my book. They are looking forward to it’s completion as if it were the next Stephen King book. So there is absolutely no pressure. Can you hear the sarcasm?
I laid in bed last night fearing that everyone would hate my book. I knew that it was terrible and amaturish. I could hear everyone laughing and whispering as they struggled to make it past page 1. I was ready to throw in the towel. I was discouraging myself from completing the goal I had set back in June. I posted a status on Facebook about my fear of what if . . . Friends hurriedly commented back that I could finish it, they wanted to read it, blah blah blah. Then my mom said this . . .
“So, quitting now is the “safe” way. Giving up is easy. Let the book die and no one can say “boy, that sucked… she has no writing talent”. Right?? You have to decide what you want your future to be like. Do you want it filled with self doubt and what-if’s and regret and remorse and all the negative self-recordingshaunting you forever… “see, I knew you wouldn’t follow through. You start projects and don’t finish them”. Or do you want your future filled with satisfaction, closure, confidence, pride. This isn’t about whether your book is a literary hit and people adore you and you make money and you can call yourself an author. Its about teaching your children to set goals and to do the work necessary to meet them. Its about finishing a project. Its about how you will feel about yourself later if you give up so close to being finished. Its about finally giving birth at the end of the 9 months. If your book sucks, if your writing & editing are amateurish your friends will still love you. Even if its great some people online that you’ve never met will say bad things about. Thats life – not everyone will say nice things about your work. But you will have followed your heart. Decide once and finally WHY you chose to start this project. Decide what your goal was. Is not publishing consistent with that goal? Can you live with this? Its your baby – your choice. Your friends don’t care if your book is good. Your friends will judge that you did what felt right and that you were true to yourself. And your friends will respect that you trusted them. To publish or not to publish, that is the question. I love you either way. Follow Your Heart!!”
Mom always knows how to put my perspective back into place. I have lived my life so far with no regrets. I will allow myself to fail in my goal. I will finish my book. I will reach my goal. I will do it not for money, or to make my friends happy, but for me. No regrets . . .