Friday, November 28, 2008

Question Me Good - Pt. 13

I'm still stuffed to the gills after a wonderful dinner with My Love last night, and there are plenty of leftovers in the refrigerator to keep me Thanksgiving Day happy for a few more days. I hope you all had a wonderful day with your families, friends, and loved ones, wherever you are.

It's time now to get back to those questions you've been asking me. Today we have a vague yet interesting question from Louise...

Why haven't you done it yet? Better yet, what is it you haven't done?

Let's see...I haven't:

  • Finished my novel
  • Been published in a major magazine
  • Seen the Grand Canyon, a giant Redwood, Old Faithful or Mount Rushmore
  • Been married
  • Had children
  • Traveled to Africa, Australia, South America or Asia
There are so many things that I haven't done that I can't possibly list them all. And in answering this question I've realized that my answers are specifically about what I WANT to do. There are plenty of things I haven't done (killed someone, stolen a car) that I didn't even think to list because they're not things that I would ever willingly or actively consider doing.

As for why I haven't done these things, there are many reasons some of which are out of my control. I want to address that first bullet, though. It was the first thing that came to mind when I read Louise's question, "Why haven't you done it yet?" And my immediate response? "Fear."

I've been making excuses for a long time. I've been passive about my goal. I've procrastinated, taken on projects that take up my writing time, watched television and filled my time with unproductive activities instead of pursing the thing that I want more than anything else. Why? Because I'm afraid. Afraid I'll finish and it will suck. Afraid I'll finish and it will be great and then people will expect more of the same. Afraid I'll put all that work of writing and rewriting and editing into something that won't find its way into publication.

But when I think about those fears, when they're written out like that, I start to see the holes in my logic. I won't ever know the results if I don't finish what I've started. So what if I write something that doesn't make the best seller's list or doesn't even find a publisher? I'll have written a story that I love and I'll have learned plenty of lessons through the process. This morning I heard David Wroblewski, the author of The Story of Edgar Sawtell, say something that soothed my fear a bit. He said, "As a new writer who'd never been published before I had the luxury of time." It took him 10 years to write his best seller. He wrote it part-time while he worked as a software programmer. He did what he loved and has been pleasantly surprised by the fact that it's been published, much less that it's a best seller.

Who cares if my book takes a long time to write? Who cares if it's not as good as I hope it will be? I'd hate to look back on my life 10, 15, 30 years from now and realize I allowed fear to keep me from doing the things that I really wanted to do.

What haven't you done and why haven't you done it? Go. Now. Make a plan. Get to work. Start saving. Do what you want--no, what you NEED--to do. We'll never regret that.

If you've got a burning question for me but haven't had a chance to ask it, you can go to the original post and leave your question in a comment. I'll keep answering a question or two a day until they're all answered.

If you're just tuning in, check the rest of the series.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Love the answers from Strong Self to Fearful Self. I most fear regrets in my "golden years," so I try to reach my goals as I can.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

I'd be happy to find the time to read that book, never mind finish my own! I'll tell you why I don't make my writing a priority. Because it feels like a pipe dream. I need to make money. I could go on eBay right now and research because I'm planning to sell, or I could work on my story. Or I could go to a writer's website I found and see what's cooking there, looking for inspiration. Hmm, wonder what I'll do?

Nice blog. You've got a great hand!

Ami said...

Angie - I think that's a major fear for me, too. And I think that's what eventually helps me break through all that other stickiness.

Debi - It does feel like a pipe dream sometimes, but I think the dream is worth it. Even if it doesn't pay off in the end. Being short on time is certainly an obstacle, though, and I can totally relate. Thanks for stopping by! (And unfortunately, that's not my hand, but thanks for the compliment anyway.)

Louise said...

For me, the point of writing is that there is no pay off. There is no pat on the back. There is no "Now you've made it" moment. It just is. It is you and it is free and it is everything expressive and grand in a matter of 26 meaningless characters.

And I've seen your hand. Ten times better than the one on your blog

52 Faces said...

oooh Nice quote from the Edgar Sawtelle author! I can't believe I'm actually meeting neat bloggers through Twitter.

Ami said...

52 Faces - Thanks for stopping by. Glad you're discovering new bloggers through Twitter. I'm finding it's a great resource for just about anything you're looking for!

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