I’m working on another book, a follow up to A Song for Jessica.
And I’m having a heckuva time getting to “The End,”
Finishing that last 1/3 of the book has really gotten me down.
It’s hard to finish off a project, especially one that has no concrete deadline, no one waiting for it, no one depending on it for life, health, welfare, or other.
And I’ve given this idea a lot of thought: Why is it so hard to get to “The End”?
Here are some ideas:
Finishing the first draft means I’ll have to look at what I’ve done.
Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of anything is sh**.” This first draft is a necessary step in a long process. I can’t expect the work to be good at this stage, but I can’t go any further until I finish this first draft. Finishing the first stage forces me to see what I’ve written which leads me to wonder if it’s enough of a story.
Self-doubt can shut me down.
It’s constant, but for me, self-doubt gets worse toward the finish. I have to do my best to avoid the negative self-talk and keep the positive and encouraging self-talk going.
I feel impatient for the final draft and I have a long way to go before I get there.
With my first book I didn’t know what I was getting into. I was naive enough to think it was pretty decent when I handed copies out to my Beta Readers wanting their honest feedback on the work, and Thank God, I had people who could tell me the truth. It needed work.
I think most projects are hard to finish, but maybe for slightly different reasons.
- We get bored and are ready to do something else.
- Or we love what we’re doing and don’t want it to end because then what would we do.
- We lose our motivation to finish for some other undefined reason
Years ago I ran the Chicago Marathon and I was so close to the finish and so tired and ready to be done, and I remember thinking, “One step at a time. Just put one foot in front of the other.”
I kept my eyes on the finish line and kept moving forward. That’s how I finished. It wasn’t pretty, but it was done.
That same mindset will get me to “The End.”
There must be some sort of study about why it’s so hard to finish stuff (books, notebooks, challenges, etc.), but I don’t need anyone to tell me it’s hard.
And there may be other, more sophisticated ways of getting to the end, but I’ll just keep doing it the way I did it that unseasonably warm October day in Chicago:
Focus on the finish line and take one step at a time.
That’s how I’ll get to “The End”. And I can’t overthink it or I’ll never get there.
Slow is okay as long as I’m moving forward with the finish line in sight.