Other than the threat of jail, what stops you from reaching your goals? There could be a plethora of things you’re trying to obtain, whether it’s reaching your daily writing goal, to decisions that could have a major effect on your life.
Liz Kreger had a wonderful blog last Monday. She talks about when writers get into the meat of a story, but suddenly the story stops working for them. She poses the question of moving forward with the hope it comes together, or just chucking it in the trash.
That got me to thinking about my three EIP’s (Epics In Progress) sitting on the hard drive. From the beginning of each, they moved along with ease. Everything meshed, yet now they sit unfinished.
I have varying reasons for letting each slide. One of the stories just stopped talking to me, and then the eye interruptions kept me off the computer for a few weeks, which I did under doctor’s orders. With my current EIP mum at the time, I picked up pen and paper and started a new EIP. Worked just as well. Nothing was going to steal my writing edge. Reaching the one hundred page mark, another story grabbed my muse, and well, you know how it is. Some things you just can’t ignore – EIP number three.
And then a finished EIP came back to haunt me. Literally, one day I was doing some banal task when I swear I heard one of its character say, “You know, Calarco, you really screwed me over in that story. I deserved a better ending. You had it all wrong.” I might be paraphrasing – this happened last summer, but still, I listened, letting those three EIP’s slide some more.
Am I crazy? Those who know me can answer that one without blinking. But the question remains: Will I pick up the others where I left off?
Answer: Absolutely. Like Liz, I finish what I start, albeit I don’t right away.
But what if after finishing the one I’m on, which I promised myself that I would, the others remain silent? Do I make a decision to trash them as “bad ideas” or call them hopeless from the beginning?
Hopeless is a sad word, one that leads to the inevitable end of the road known as quitting all together. Yet, as Liz mentioned in her blog, she believes that “no book is hopeless.” I want to take her statement one step further. I think that it’s not so much that the “book is hopeless” as it’s just that Liz is an extremely hopeful person.
As writers, I think we’ve all had minor lapses where we wanted to quit. Some actually did. But what separates the ones who never pick up pen again, from those who, even if you cut off all their fingers, do?
Where there’s a will there’s a way, right? Or maybe not. Maybe it’s the fact that survival courses through their veins. Maybe those hopeful souls have survived life’s difficulties and naturally can’t quit.
A week or so before my mother died, I stood by her bedside. Holding my hand, she asked, “Am I going to die?” I nodded, lips tight and whispered, “Yes.” She replied, “Well, there’s always hope.” Shortly thereafter, ovarian cancer won, but her words never left me. “There’s always hope.”
In my life I have found that hope doesn’t fit cliché. It’s not that it “springs eternal” or “floats,” but it’s what keeps us moving forward. Hope, to me, is a by-product of survival – the positive edge that enables us to leap hurdles we’d never consider doing if previously asked.
I believe there comes a time in everyone’s life when the stopping point comes. But, it’s not quitting, it’s letting go after the good fight, when hope is our strength to letting go.
Survivors are wired with hope, I believe. Impossible, as well as quitting, never occurs to those who’ve already survived what others think is hopeless. Liz Kreger knows this, and I believe that’s why she feels that no book is hopeless.