Why is it that we can be so entranced with what we write at one point in time and so confident in its value — and then begin to wonder whether any of it is worthwhile or even matters? I’ve reached that most dangerous of stages in my YA novel — I’m alm…ost at the end of my draft polishing. But at this stage, I’m just so thoroughly tired of working on it that today, I found myself in a state of near despair about whether it will ever be done. Go figure! I’m 90% finished and yet getting through that last 10% seems really tough.
My friend and mentor Rob Gilbert is fond of saying, “It’s the start that stops most people — and while that’s very accurate, I think it’s also the finish that stops a lot of people as well. And I count myself among them. Completion can be very tough for me and for other writers as well, from what I hear. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s fear of failure? Fear of success? Maybe it’s the idea that a creative project is always a work in progress — it can always be improved.
Whatever the reason — the why — that finishing is so challenging, there’s only one remedy that I can see. Fight through it. Fight through the doubt and confusion — and go that extra round — until you reach a place where you feel you’ve done everything you can. And then push it a little further.
I know, I know. Sometimes you can barely stand pulling a project out and tackling it. I hear you! I’ve been there myself. But there’s often gold in that final go-round. Suddenly, you’ll see that if you just tweak something that extra bit, then everything shifts a fraction and falls into place. So let’s go that extra round and pat ourselves on the back when we hit the finish line. Write on!