I am staring at a first draft of a manuscript that was supposed to have been finished by now. Throughout all of August and a decent chunk of September there was excellent momentum. And then the writer began to get in the way, especially by early October.
It would be easy to justify the completion delay by blaming lack of time. My work and family life schedule have been a bit over the top. But I know–as Jimmy Buffett would say–it's my own damn fault.
This first draft is quite close to the finish line. I am wrapping up a key scene in the second-to-last chapter, and then only a 5,000-word section stands between me and the satisfying sense of having completed an arduous journey. But there are other stories demanding my attention as I strive to create something out of nothing, words out of a void: stories of self-doubt, of uncertainty, of needing to measure up. The old, familiar strands of thought that plague many a writer in varying flavors.
It's amusing how excessive thought becomes my enemy at times, as its shadow emerges from its counterpart of strength. Without the use of my thinking there would be no novel to begin with, and yet my thinking also contains the seeds of my downfall. Even more ironic is this onslaught of negative cognition during a season in which I have been immersed in literature that carefully details how to transcend thought and make space for a vibrant consciousness, an awareness of God in the ever-vital present moment.
This tells me how hard it is to train yourself to think differently–to think of yourself, others, your life situation and your vocation in a manner that provides both creative breakthroughs and peaceful engagement in whatever comes to pass. The mind can know the right things to do in order to surrender to bliss, but the heart must experience such surrender through disciplined behavior across time.
I know this much, with my mind as well as my heart: When it comes to completing this novel and the many that may follow: I will not give up.