By: Dennis Bates
I have to come clean. Sometimes I have a little trouble making decisions. Well, maybe it’s more than a little, but maybe trouble isn’t the right word. Maybe difficulty would be better. No, it’s not difficulty exactly; maybe I’m just a perfectionist at times. Come to think of it, maybe I don’t have trouble at all. Perhaps I just need to think things through completely before I move forward. No, I have trouble and that’s my final answer. Or is it?
An example: I’ve been working off and on writing a manuscript for more than three years now. First it was one story, then two. I meshed them together to make one again. Then I wrote two more. I wove those into the first two, that was really one now, and the four, or three, depending upon how you are counting, became one again.
I can’t tell you how many versions of each story I’ve written. For one thing, part of me doesn’t want to think about it. On the other hand, most of me can’t remember all of them. Somewhere I have pieces of all of them in computer land, but just remembering where I kept all the pieces would be a daunting task.
I can almost hear my cohort, Staci ,screaming in the background, “Put it away; do something else; come back to it later when you have all the pieces.” That’s probably good advice, but it’s advice I can’t take. Or at least I can’t follow it. I’m just not built that way. Too linear I guess. I can’t get to the finish line until I go through all the points between here and there. Otherwise, I just can’t get there from here.
In some ways I wish it were different. It is incredibly frustrating to see the finish line from where you’re standing, but at the same time realize you aren’t there yet, and you have a lot of things to do before you get there. It almost makes you want to give up and not go any farther. But, see, for me at least, I can’t do that either. It’s sort of like the third law of thermo nuclear dynamics: You can’t win, you can’t tie, and you can’t get out of the game. I’m not certain I understand that totally, but I can feel its fright and its frustration.
The worst thing I could do at this point is quit, no matter how tired my WIP is making me. (That’s writer speak for Work In Progress, by the way. Everyone who claims to be a writer has to work that into a conversation on a regular basis.) I can’t and won’t get out of the game. Writing that story and others is the reason I am here. I am totally convinced of that. And it’s the reason I’ll keep my eye on the prize and keep moving forward.
I would like to be able to say, as Paul did, that I have fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. I’m not there yet, but some day I know I will be. That’s one thing I know for sure and it is definitely my final answer.