finishing is harder.
In 2007 I made a New Year’s Resolution: I decided it was time to start sharing my writing. Since freshman year of high school I had not shared any of my fiction. Not a page, not a story idea, not even the fact that I had been writing. It was an affair I even tried to keep from D, writing only between classes at school, while he was gone on business trips. I did a lot of ‘writing’ in the car when I was commuting. A part of me recognized that this was ridiculous.
In 2007 a friend posted her New Year’s Resolutions on her blog and I decided to do the same in her comments section. I don’t remember all of them: Exercise more, be better about calling my brothers, share some of my writing. What? This was not something I had been thinking about., but there it was, up on my friend’s blog. I even told D of my resolution. I was coming clean. D was loving and encouraging, and my productivity came to a stop.
I was still writing, but it wasn’t going anywhere. I would start a new story with the same excitement, but after a week or two I would hate it and throw it away. I would think about having to share my writing and my stories would dead end. I signed up for writing classes and critique groups, always under a fake name, and would quit after a session or two, always before it was my turn to share. I became a big reader of books on writing which are, let’s face it, a way to avoid writing.
Two and a half years later I still hadn’t shared anything and, more annoyingly, I also hadn’t finished anything. I decided to stop the insanity. I withdrew my resolution. It was a bullshit resolution anyway. I don’t like to share, and that’s okay. I didn’t go back to writing in secret, hiding it from my friends and D (although I have developed the childish tendency to slap my hands over my page when D comes into the room). Within six weeks I had a story again. It’s not Finished (note the capital ‘F’), but it does have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It has characters with names who move. It doesn’t have any of those annoying bits in parenthesis where I say “I don’t know how, but x, y, and z should happen here. Fill in later.” I’m still not sure I want to share, but finishing something (even lower case finishing) for the first time in three years? Damn it feels pretty good.