Since December 2009, I have added less than seven pages to my novel. An impressive total, I know, yet I can't help but be disappointed. I mean, not once in those pages do I mention ninjas.
So, why have I made so little progress in all this time? The smart money would be on procrastination. If I'm not feeling motivated, it's easy for me to be distracted by DVDs, TV, live sports in HD, fantasy sports, fantasy novels, books on my nightstand, people that I can't stand, canned goods, good times, Thai food, poor rhymes, board games, card games, mind games, word games, homophones, homonyms, hominids, katydids, my wife and son, my dog and cats, that squirrel beyond the window slats, minor slights, internet sites, waving from such great heights, songs I love, songs by Liszt, lists I love, and things that are shiny. To give you some idea, I wrote the first part of this post (through this sentence)
But despite Occam's Razor,1 I don't think my procrastination is fully to blame. Another culprit is blogging, which eats into my novel-writing time. Then again, some might claim that by remaining at The Wheel, not only am I entertaining upwards of seven people, but I'm also honing my craft, and my novel will be better for it. But that's a faulty argument. Not only is my novel not written in the first person, but it also doesn't contain a single footnote.2
Nevertheless, both my blog and my pro...(wait for it!)...crastination play a part in why, in the past twenty months, the first draft of my novel has only gone from 85% complete to 85.3% complete.3 But I feel there may be a reason bigger than all of those I've already mentioned: I'm afraid.
I'm afraid that when I finish the draft, the editing process will prove too harrowing and do me in. I'm scared no one other than those obligated by family ties or bound wrists will truly enjoy the story. I'm frightened it won't hold people's attention, that it'll be dull instead of engaging. Also, I'm mortified I'll eventually run out of synonyms for "afraid."
I know these fears are probably unwarranted, but they're still there, nagging at me from the back of my mind. Poking me. Prodding me. Not telling me that I'm going to fail, but that I'll disappoint. That my story won't live up to the expectations of my friends. Of my family. Of myself. And it scares me.
Or maybe I just waste all my time coming up with lame excuses. Enough of this. It's time to write.
1 Which basically states: The simplest solution to a problem is to cough up that blade you swallowed as if it's a hairball, slit the guard's throat, and then hightail it to Mexico.
2 And just like that, I've lost all seven of my potential readers.
3 Nor can I discount the possibility that I've been cursed by gypsies.