Today is National Panic Day on the Finish That Novel calendar. It’s not a random holiday that is directly related to writing, but I do think that it’s a good idea to take it to heart and re-energize your ideas about your writing. And yes, to panic about it. There’s plenty to panic about. For example. . .
1. 98% of people who begin writing a novel never finish it. Actually I made that statistic up, but I think I’m being generous, if anything. If you’ve already started writing your novel, you might as well stop because you almost certainly won’t live to see the end of it.
2. Literary standards are higher than ever. This is especially true in the self-publishing arena, but traditionally published authors should take heed. There’s a lot of competition out there, and if your novel isn’t perfect, you don’t stand a chance. Speaking of perfection…
3. Your novel isn’t and never will be perfect. It probably won’t even be good enough. A lot of people who try to get their books accepted for publication get rejected because they don’t meet the quality standards of the publishing house in question and no one wants to go through all the editing work that would be necessary.
4. Your idea isn’t really that unique. It’s all been done before. I’ve been accused of writing unimaginative fan-fiction of movies I hadn’t even seen for a book that I thought was very fresh on the fantasy scene.
5. You don’t have what it takes. You might not even realize it, but I do. If you’re reading this instead of writing, then you’re probably procrastinating. If you procrastinate your writing, then you don’t have the self-control needed to get a novel out there. I have a serious issue with this as well, or else I would be writing novels and not working on this site.
6. Someone out there is really going to hate your writing. And not just because it’s radical. Your lack of quality, originality and writing ability can’t possibly ever meet everyone’s standards.
7. Life is short, and you’re wasting it writing. All that time you’ve spent with a notepad or computer, putting down words as they come to you, lying awake in bed wondering what the older brother’s secret really is… it’s a total waste of time. As I’ve mentioned earlier, you’re not going to finish that novel. You don’t have what it takes. A few decades from now, is all that wasted time and potential even going to matter?
Hopefully, I haven’t talked too many people out of writing, but these are things worth thinking about. Finishing a novel isn’t something that just happens, it’s something that you grab and commit yourself to accomplishing, something that won’t let you rest until you’re done.
Please share your own panicked writing moments and deep fears in the comments section. I look forward to getting in touch!