Monday, July 30, 2012

Nobody Wants to Wait 10 Years for Your Story


Everyone has projects they would like to get to, but life seems to get in the way. Sometimes that takes the form of procrastination. On the rare occasion, it's because you truly have been too busy. (Too busy is often code for, poor time management, or prioritization based on the needs of other people.)

Most often a project lays dormant because of fear, uncertainty or doubt. Can it be finished? What will it look like? Will you like it enough? What if no one else likes it? These are all reasonable fears, but they hold you hostage, and that is unreasonable. If you're going to feel those emotions anyway, doesn't it make sense to get them over with?

I know, sometimes it takes time to erect a statue or build a new park. Somethings can’t be rushed. Ideas need to ferment, and the Muses need to sing in perfect harmony, but for how long ... really?

I have no shortage of half-baked prose sucking up disk space and file cabinets, but I'm talking about the projects you’re actively working on. There are countless tales about authors who have worked on their novel for years, sometimes they finish it on their deathbed and sometimes death beats them to their final period.

When I hear those stories I often wonder, what the hell took them so long? What got in the way? Sometimes a war, often depression. Believe me, I get it. Debilitating things in life can keep you from working what you tell everyone you want to be working on, but let's be brutally honest, nobody wants to wait ten years for your book. You're supposed be a storyteller, not a tease.

If you write, write the damn thing. If you're an artist, paint the damn thing. If you’ve got a passion project, finish it. Otherwise, what good is it to the rest of the world? You undoubtedly had plans for it to begin with, what happened?

It's now generally accepted that productivity helps to create happiness. So, it stands to reason that those who wallow over the lack of progress in their project, primarily due to their unproductive behavior, won’t be particularly happy. To me, this is one of life’s tragedies. You’ve got enough of a gift, skill, passion, or maybe all three, to have gotten something started. Now finish it. Stop with your excuses (see 10 Best Excuses Worksheet) Keep your commitments to yourself and move on.