Committing to a Writing Project


On Tuesday I came clean about my version of writer’s block—too afraid to write. I started yesterday by tackling some of the jobs that have been hanging over me and cluttering my brain. As I eased out from under the load, I felt less paralyzed, but honestly, I considered backing out of going to the conference. Except, I’ve already paid.

OK, so I’m going. I prayed. I know others did too. And a friend of mine reminded me about writing during my optimum thinking time. For me, that’s morning—usually my blogging time.

Today I switched that and worked on one of the projects I’d hoped to take with me to the conference. Except, I still don’t know. I sent off some pages to another writer for some feedback with the idea that if it’s no good, maybe I’ll can the idea.

Then I read a part of Randy Ingermanson’s blog post about goals. He said there are two necessary things if you want to complete a project: define it and commit to it.

The “commit” part seemed applicable to my circumstances. Here’s the pertinent passage:

Second, you commit to writing that particular book. Commitment means that you won’t quit when things get hard (they will). You won’t quit when your critique buddies find flaws (they will). You won’t quit when the agents say they’re not interested in that particular book (they will). You won’t quit when the editors say no (they will). You won’t quit when the substantive editorial letter comes back with 20 pages of requested revisions (it will). Commitment means that you’re in all the way. Commitment means that you work on the book until one of two things happen — either you realize that the book is fatally flawed, or you finish the book.

My question is, How do you know when a book is “fatally flawed”? If I can’t finish, have I quit or have I recognized it is fatally flawed? And who’s to say it is fatally flawed? Not agents or crit buddies or editors, it would seem.

And if it’s up to me, how will I know? I can’t judge by it being too hard or because I’m not getting the responses I hoped. So what should be my the measure I use to judge “fatally flawed”?

Unless … Maybe there should be only one thing—I’m all in until I finish. Not, until I finish or …

Something to think about.

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm  Comments (8)  
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