Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Loose Ends

It seems that I have spent my whole life tying up loose ends. Once I think I’m finished, I see something else that needs to be done before I can say that the job is complete.  This obsession with loose ends often impedes my ability to finish a task.  I find it difficult to walk away knowing there is something left undone.  I find myself constantly revisiting past projects to improve and make them better by tying up one more loose end.

On the other hand, I sometimes find that the amount of work required to tie up all those loose ends, is so daunting that it is easier to give up on a project rather than tackle the task.  I’ve never thought of myself as a quitter, but I admit that there have been times when I backed away from a job or even a promotion because there were so many unknowns and loose ends.  I was too discouraged to even begin!

But the old adage is true: “Every journey begins with a single step.” I took that step when I wrote and self-published my first book. I knew nothing of publishing and I was reluctant to turn the whole process over to someone else without knowing what I was getting into.  So I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and forced myself to take that first step. I asked questions.  I made mistakes. I learned.  I am by no means an expert, but I am no longer terrified.

Now I find that the more I know, the more I need to know…more loose ends!  It is so easy to get caught up in the details that I lose sight of the goal.  Lately, I have immersed myself in learning the ropes of marketing myself and my work. I have spent hours researching and building a following on social networks.  I have developed press releases and promoted myself at book signings and book clubs. As a result I have neglected the most important and joyous part of being a writer…writing!

After publishing my debut novel, I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking of ways to make it better. I’m trying to stay focused on my next project, but I am haunted by the loose ends from my previous work.  I know that at some point I will revisit it and republish a second, improved edition for no other reason than to bring some closure to those loose ends.

As I near the resolution of the plot for The Stone House Legacy, I am consumed by the amount of loose ends that I have left dangling. There are so many details that need to be flushed out and explained before this draft is complete that I have allowed myself to become paralyzed by inaction. The task is so overwhelming that I have been unable to move forward. I have even contemplated giving up on the whole idea.

I have come to this critical decision point so often in my life. Looking back, I see that there were many times when I gave up on something when taking a single step forward would have gotten me moving again. I believe I have a story to tell. I believe that it will not only be entertaining, but insightful. I believe that the story will not be told unless I tell it. I think I am ready to take that next step. Wish me luck!

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