I’m reading Bill Browder’s memoir, “Red Notice”. Partway through, I’ve just finished the part of his life when the Asian markets tanked, tanking his Russian-based fortune in his company, Hermitage Capital Management. At this point, still in the first third of the book, he considers his options. It would be easy to sell off everything for what he could get, close the company, and leave Russia, but he disliked the impression.
His thinking reminded me of Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Habit Two is “Begin with the end in mind.” It’s my favorite habit. When I used Covey’s book in team building, I led an exercise to imagine what you want others to say about you when you’re finished, when you finally say, I’m done. It’s one of those things that provides extra motivation when it seems like your tank might be empty.
I feel like I need to remind myself of this today. My muses are tearing me up with their pace. I’ve been reading a lot, which is a catalyst to dreaming. Dreaming fires up my imagination, and imagination stimulates my writing. Or something like that; I don’t know the exact connectivity between these activities, only that they seem to act on one another in me. Simultaneously, I sometimes worry that I’ve gone off the tracks and have begun pursuing a delusional folly somewhat like Professor Grady Tripp in Michael Chabon’s novel, “Wonder Boys”. Michael Douglas played Professor Tripp in the movie.
Intellectually and emotionally, I know that doubts like these aren’t uncommon among writers, especially while you’re an unknown author and working on a long project. Personally, I know my rhythms and understand this is part of my modus operandi and my untamed impatience to get done and move on to other activities.
You probably get tired of reading blog posts like this. As it is part of my normal cycles along my personal spectrums, I end up thinking, writing, and posting about them. I share it as much to help me think through my situation, but also to let other unknown writers out there that they’re not alone. Every writer that I know goes through these doubts. Some let their doubts stop them from writing. Others take Professor Tripp’s path, figuring that if it’s never done, it’ll never be read nor criticized, creating Schroedinger’s novel. Is it brilliant or garbage? Nobody knows because he won’t let anyone read it.
Looping back to the post’s beginning, though, I don’t want that to be me. The end for that is a writer who never finishes or publishes. Good or bad, I will finish and publish despite myself and my fears, worries, and neurosis.
Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.