I almost gave up the other day.
It was the day I planned on starting my second novella of the year. I saved it for last on that day’s to-do list so that, once all my other work was done, I could focus on just my story, and nothing else.
I started at a blank document for a very long time.
Not blocked. Not mapping things out in my head before starting.
No. I just didn’t want to do it.
I didn’t want to write another story, and I didn’t want to write THIS story. I wanted to come up with something else, something easier, something I wouldn’t have to emotionally invest myself with at such a deep level.
I didn’t give up, of course. But we’ll get to that soon. First I want to explain myself.
Sometimes I am still afraid of getting lost in a story.
No, really. If it’s ever happened to you, you know how strange and sometimes scary that sensation can be. I’m still not used to it, and I’ve been writing for a long time. Years.
When I was writing last month’s novella (which you can still get here), it was not hard to write 2,000 words every day and finish in just half of a month. I fell in love with that story and the time it took to work on it every day became precious; a luxury.
However last month I didn’t have a job and I wasn’t in school the whole time I worked on it. So I had the time to yank myself away from the real world for a few hours to mingle with my characters and write their stories the way they wanted me to.
I admit it: I’m afraid of commitment. I’m working on it.
I really did want an easy way out.
Have you ever wanted to tell a story so desperately that it scared you? That longing you feel when you are being pulled in a direction you don’t think you’re ready to go is probably how skydiving feels, but I haven’t been yet and I don’t know for sure. I can only imagine.
The idea of leaping blindly into something I didn’t feel ready for literally made me dizzy. It’s not that it’s a really dark story or anything, I just had this moment of terror that almost made me second-guess myself. “Can’t I just hold off on this? Can’t I just write something else and come back to this idea later?”
Giving up is not an option, though.
It’s the moments before you start that are the most unbearable. Every ounce of fear and doubt you’ve been holding inside you is pumping through your veins. But there’s one cure for that kind of anxiety, and it’s to put your fingers on those keys and start typing anyway.
So that’s what I did. With no direction and no confidence, I started typing. And 2,000 words later, I found it very, very hard to stop.
That fear hasn’t gone away. That does not mean I shouldn’t continue. It means I am writing outside of my comfort zone. And it feels amazing.
Now what would have happened if I would have given up?
Never let yourself back away from a challenge. You are stronger than that.
Image courtesy of Courtney Carmody/flickr.com.
Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.