This started out as a little peptalk to myself but then I thought that maybe other people might need to hear it as well so now it is a blog post. And, yes, it is specific to writing, but I think the point can be stretched to cover just about anything.
I want to be a writer. Well, I should clarify. I AM a writer–I want to be a published writer. I want writing to be my full-time career. And, you know, making money from it. But I don’t finish things. I have at least 10 novels that aren’t going anywhere because I can’t seem to finish my writing projects.
So why don’t I finish projects? Fundamentally, it comes down to the fear that I’m not good enough. That I will work on a novel [and finish it] and be super proud of it only to be told by a publisher that it is complete trash, and I should do the reading populace a favor and hang up my proverbial pen forever. I think a rejection letter of that nature would be pretty devastating, mainly because I would be left with the thought, “Well, now what?” If writing is the only thing I really want to do and I suck at it, what does that mean? A life of employment unhappiness? Nine-to-five medocrity and all that comes with it–deadlines, corporate ass-kissing, and Monday morning heart attacks?
Why is it easier to shoot yourself down than for someone else to? It should feel the other way around because it is the other way around. It is much worse to shoot yourself down. And yet, that’s what I’m doing. By not completing a novel I am saving myself from finding out that I might completely suck. However, I might not completely suck. Maybe I am amazing. Either way, my not trying will yield the same results as trying and sucking [i.e. I won’t be a published writer]. But thirty years from now, wouldn’t it be better to hate some publisher for crushing my dream than to hate myself?
Far worse than being rejected for doing something is not knowing what would have happened if you had tried. I know this in my head, but translating it into action has proven difficult. I need a good kick in the pants.