You get to the last act of your novel and, suddenly, you’re paralyzed with fear and/or anxiety?
Everytime I reach this point in a novel, something comes over me and I have the hardest time writing the last 15K or so. It’s not that I don’t know what comes next in the plot–how I want it to end. It’s not that I’m struggling with a character arc. This is a whole different kind of writer’s block.
The fear of finishing.
Because what’s supposed to happen when you finish the first draft? You have to edit, then send it out to agents/publishers, sign a contract, go through the publishing process, and then release your novel out into the real world–where people will READ it. That’s right. Someone will read it.
Goodness–if that isn’t getting ahead of myself.
But finishing the first draft does push us to the next step. We’ve officially written a novel. It may not be in top form, but it is a complete product, which is quite an accomplishment in and of itself. Now, we move on to the editing stage–stage 3 (planning, writing, editing). It’s one stage closer to the end goal.
What if the people don’t like it? What if I am laughed into the next century? What if…no one reads it?
Of course, all of these illogical questions are way ahead of themselves, but that does not make them any less debilitating when we let them crowd our heads. I’m guilty of this more than I’d like to admit (and it’s also why there are a handful of manuscripts in the closet).
Fear is normal, some fear is even healthy. It’s the focus of the fear and the degree to which we let it control us that can be worrisome. Our God is not a god of fear. He is not a god of doubt or hate or anything like that. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to enjoy the fruits of our labor, especially when that labor is for him.
When we are afraid, when we doubt the gifts God gave us–that is when we need him. We need to surrender the bad thoughts, the bad feelings, all of it to him. We take our thoughts hostage and declare that we will not stand in fear any longer. We are children of God. The maker of Heaven and Earth, the Almighty is on our side. With him, we will prosper. We will face our fears and conquer our enemies. Victory will be ours.
Only 15,000 words until I reach the end–with God at my side.