The pains of trying to write a novel in the viewpoint of a perfectionist.
It was a book that screamed to be written ten years from today. You dreamed about it ever since you were in high school. You wanted to write a book. You wanted to write that book. But you’re not actually sure what kind of book that was supposed to be.
Reality hits you hard like a rock.
You have been redoing versions of it for the seventh time. You have changed characters, names, settings; added a few and taken out a lot. As you grow older, a lot of things have changed. Your morals. Your viewpoints. Your behavior and how you’d like your character to turn out to be. You have liked different attitudes. Been attracted to different people.
In short, your novel can not end up like what you originally planned because everything changed around you.
And thus is the tragedy of my life.
Back then, I was a young author-wannabe. Someone who digested Little Women and similar girlish novels with glee. Back then, my heart was naive, innocent and had its own ideals. My characters were flawed but I deemed them perfect. The setting was simple, dark and chaotic. There was a love plot, of course. And there was angst. And hatred. Just like how youths in my days were.
And now, I’ve grown up.
I look back at who I was ten years ago, wondering where all my thoughts went. My heroes changed. My principles changed. The reason why I am writing the story changed. And now, that manuscript is just an unbelievable dump of words, mish-moshed through my files. I don’t even know which version to read.
This year, I decided to write another version, probably the last version, and finish it. Halfway through the first part, here I am again, feeling a lot colder against the current flow, and stopping to reimagine new What-ifs. Those What-ifs are always the reason why I am revising things in the first place.
And then this came.
— Caris Cruz (@hellocaris) September 19, 2014
You must decide to finish.
It’s not going to be perfect.
My story will have some loopholes and potential revamps, but this is what I needed.
I must decide to finish.
Right now, I am looking at my last revision, retaining the handful of dreams and purposes I wrote ten years after, and I’m pressing on. This is the story. No buts. No what-ifs. Just them.
The writer, Jeff Goins, just gave me an advice I pretty much needed. And yes, it’s free for all to see. If you must, read all here in his blog.