Last week, I posted about how I wasn’t afraid of failure, and how I refuse to let it stop me trying new things, particularly within the realm of writing. This post may be considered as something of a companion piece to that post – if I ever consider anything I write on this blog to be as organised as that.
If you think of writing as a process, the fear of failure is something that is definitely placed at the beginning of that process. It’s like a barrier erected right at the start, blocking you even before you’ve set off on your writing journey. One of the first steps you need to overcome if you want to get to the other side.
This post is more about the opposite end of the process. How you feel when you’ve actually completed all your writing (and editing and re-editing and proofing and formatting and publishing) and you can look back over what you’ve achieved. And when I look back, one of the major emotions that hits me is amazement.
Sometimes, I find it difficult to believe what I’ve actually achieved. Three novels – check. Two series of novellas with connected themes – check. Two picture books – check. It’s an incredible feeling to look back and say, “I did all of this!”
But it’s not just the bigger picture of completing all this work that I find mind-boggling. There are also the specifics of what I’ve created. Even now, I can think back to the moments when I had the first germ of an idea for each of these works. I can remember the point where the first inkling of an epic fantasy that riffed humorously off some of the main ideas from The Lord of the Rings entered my mind – an inkling that would ultimately turn into Magnus Opum. I can recall the moment when I first had the notion to write a Chandler-esque detective thriller set in the afterlife – which eventually evolved into A Fate Worse than Death. I have a clear idea of each of the revelations that led ultimately to the three installments of the Neville Lansdowne series – Doodling, Scribbling and Scrawling.
It’s one thing to not let a fear of failure stop you from trying new things. It’s another thing entirely when you can commit yourself to the hard work required to see something through and realise an idea into its final form. I may never be 100% successful in completing that awkward transition from thought to reality. But it’s a mighty achievement to get all the way through a process, and find yourself at the end with something you’re truly proud of.
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