I have spent all of February and the first 2 days of March not sending in my submission for the Dundee International Book Prize. I finally broke the spell of procrastination today. Huzzah!
It’s been a month long Boss fight against a Boss that keeps levelling up (Think Sephiroth at the end of Final Fantasy VII).
The first form was Fear of Success. I beat that one with the knowledge that failure in a competition like this is virtually certain. There will be many entries and only one winner. The judges are looking for literary fiction which I can’t define much less write.
Then came Fear of Failure. I bargained with that one. I pointed out that entering the competition would mean I wouldn’t be able to submit the novel to any agents or publishers until the end of March so this would be the only failure I’d have to deal with and since this failure was virtually certain it was also mostly meaningless.
The final form was Fear of Screwing Up. If you send your novel in the wrong format or have too many words in your synopsis or fill in the entry form wrong then your novel is immediately disqualified and you can only enter once. For a smart person I have an embarrassingly long history of miss-reading, miss-remembering and miss-understanding apparently simple instructions. This was a tricky fight. I must have read the instructions a dozen times today alone. In the end I was only able to send it in by pretending that I was only doing it so I could close the tab on chrome with the competition rules.
So it’s done. Go me! I am victorious and mighty. But only because I had help with the synopsis (thanks to Bob, Cat, Lindz and Niles). Only because my husband kept bugging me to send the submission in. Only because my various writing friends help me to stay enthusiastic about the whole writing thing (which is impressive as I was born with a malformed enthusiasm gland).
This is a reminder of something I’ve heard Adam Savage (the ex Mythbuster) talk about. In order to be creative you need at least one person who believes in you. He talked about how even when he was a teenager rejecting boring regular work in favour of building weird stuff his mother believed in him. He said that person doesn’t have to understand you or the things that you’re doing they just have to believe that it is good or has the potential to be good.
I don’t know that it’s absolutely necessary for every creative person but I know when I had no cheering section I accomplished nothing. I know that when my mother bugs me to print out the novel so she can read it she’s doing it because she believes. I know that when my husband bugs me to finish stuff he believes. I know that when my beta reader pestered me for the next part of the book she believed.
Another thing I know is that I can pay it forward. When I bug my friends to write stuff, or take photographs, or do art I’m taking my place in their cheering section. Whenever I like, or plus one, or favourite or re-blog their stuff I am saying “I believe in you”.
If you’re reading this and you aspire to be creative then this is your reminder to defeat your own Bosses and make stuff. This is your reminder to be there for other creators. This is your reminder to cheer for others as you would have them cheer for you.