It really was bad, once I went back and looked at my last couple of years of writing. I hadn’t finished a book since 2009 and hadn’t actively been working on one since late 2010. The book I had finished, Half Blood, had been abandoned at draft 3.4 because I had no idea how to fix the huge mess my free-spirited seat-of-the-pants writing had created (a change of villains midway through the story and switching the story from one world to another while reworking that world’s magic system.) I’d abandoned another book, Nightsword, around the same time, because I was frustrated with my inability to bring my main character, a physically and emotionally scarred former assassin, to life.
Yes, I’d written a novella in early 2011, but it needed a lot of work. I’d gotten a few short stories published, and a Kindle anthology with my urban fantasy story The Fiddler had come out not too long before. I really had nothing to whine about.
But I was feeling the need to finish something big. My urban fantasy novella, Forged Steel, had ground to a halt once I’d become pregnant with Matthew. I hadn’t been able to really get back into it, even despite the fact that I was only a few thousand words away from finishing it.
In June, I finally sat down one night after a week of nit-picking at Forged Steel, determined to give my procrastination a good hard kick. I posted a status update on Facebook as a way to be accountable and tore into it.
The goal wasn’t to necessarily finish Forged Steel. I just wanted to prove to myself that I still could overcome fear. It might seem like a silly thing, but I even prayed about it. All I want is to give this fear a good kick, God.
I wrote until 2:30 in the morning, until I was almost drooling on the keyboard and struggling to keep my eyes open. I didn’t finish it, but I got close. And the next morning, I made sure the first thing I was did sit my butt down in that computer chair and finish the thing.
When I wrote “The End”, I sat back and sighed. I didn’t have a giddy feeling like I’ve gotten when I’ve finished other things, but I had a good, quiet peace that Forged Steel‘s first draft was completely on paper. It needed a lot of work, but the basic framework was there.
And I’d defeated my fear.
I don’t think I kicked my fear all the way out of my mind, but I at least put it in a headlock and stuffed it into a closet. I proved to myself that I can still set it aside and write for the sheer enjoyment of it. And the cool thing is that now that I’ve finished something, I’m really excited to work on my next project and to get Forged Steel edited. Seeing forward progress has motivated me in a way that no bribery of good ice-cream and new books could.
What have you recently defeated?