It’s the first Wednesday of September and you know what that means! Another installment of Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group!
She ends the post with this: “Are YOU the real reason you haven’t reached all your goals? Stop making excuses and make opportunities.”
*Goes in the corner. Hides. Writes letter that goes something like this: Dear Dawn, please stop spying on me.*
I am pretty much done with my current project (when I say “done” I mean that I’m at the point of having read it so many times that my eyes are bleeding so I’ve taken to reading it while standing on my head so that I can actually make sense of the words) but, as it always happens when I get to the tail end of a project, I find myself dragging my feet. When the mornings come, I have several excuses as to why I can’t do those last few edits:
1. I’m preggers, and who in their right mind sets a publication deadline for right before they’re scheduled to go into labor???
2. I need to be outside, making sure that the neighbor isn’t trying to steal our recycling bin again.
3. I don’t want to miss those Brazilian Butt Lift commercials because, dude, I like, really need that in my life.
There are other reasons I give myself, most of them weak, all of them B.S, and you want to know the fascinating part? This happens with EVERY project I work on. Every project? Yes. Once, someone (apparently a mind reading friend of mine), forwarded me an article on the fear of completion. I didn’t read the article, but I imagine that it defined F.O.C. somewhat like this:
Fear of Completion: That very wicked thing that happens to all writers right before they are done with a novel. Causes writers to avoid their novel at all costs. May cause writers to watch an excessive amount of television, take up gardening in the winter, or abandon said project all together and start a new novel from scratch.
I also imagine that there was a picture of yours truly right next to that definition. Confession time: my novel has been back from the proofreader since February. Yes, February. And no matter how much I’d like to blame not having it ready to send to the formatter on pregnancy brain, the truth is that I’m afraid that after I publish the book (gasp!) people won’t like it.
There. I said it. My fear of completion stems from the fact that I’m afraid of being laughed out of the city. I mean, just because I like my novel doesn’t mean others will. What if I’m like those delusional contestants on American Idol who think they’re going to win the competition even though when they sing they sound like a moose being thrown over a balcony? I worry about that. Oh my God; am I one of those people? I think I’m a good writer but what if I’m really delusional?
I tell myself that if I were then someone would have told me a long time ago, “Honey, maybe writing isn’t for you. How about fencing? Have you considered it?” (But then again, apparently no one has told those poor American Idol contestants that they can’t sing, so maybe, I tell myself, I should bury my project in the back yard and get out while the getting is good.)
I want to curl up on the sofa, pull the covers over my head, and never have to think about people reading my novel, hating it, and writing a horrid review.
But you can’t do that. Why not? Because you’re a writer, ditzo. And if you don’t confront this fear you’re going to spend the rest of your life being one of those writers who is always talking about their writing career but never doing a darn thing about it. I could always take up fencing. Hush up and finish the darn thing, will you?
I think the only way to combat this fear is to:
1. Write and know that there is no such thing as perfection.
2. Expect that some people will like your novel, some people won’t.
3. Realize that despite your fears, you might actually be successful.
4. Accept the fact that your writing career is your responsibility. Fear or not, you owe it to yourself to let your voice be heard.
So I’m working on overcoming this fear, but it’s tough. What about others? How do you deal with fear of completion? I’d love to hear your thoughts!