Coping with an ending

I haven’t blogged for quite a long time now, as you’ll see from the date of the last post, but today’s writing session has been really interesting for me and I wanted to share some thoughts.

There is such a thing as ‘resistance’, as described by Steven Pressfield in his book ‘Turning Pro’. Other people call it writer’s block, but I’ve never been a fan of that term. I’ve had issues with resistance before but today was particularly painful. I have all the time in the world today, a whole afternoon to devote to writing with no distractions. Could I get started? Could I heck.

I made dinner. I put on a crime drama. I checked Twitter. I watched a bit more TV. Just to the next ad break and then I’ll write. That ad break came and went as did the next one. I was very conscious, and already feeling guilty, that I was wasting time. In the end I just forced myself off the sofa, made a coffee and headed up to the office.

The interesting bit was that the resistance really did feel physical. It felt as if I was pushing at something and it was pushing back, stopping me from going where I wanted to go.

There could be several reasons for this, but it’s my belief that there is only one – I’m nearly finished the book. I had four chapters left to edit but I knew they were going to take a lot of work and so I didn’t want to start.

In addition, I’ve been editing this book for what feels like a decade (it’s actually only about two years in reality) and I’m sick of the sight of it. Apparently this is a good sign, my good friend and writer Jane Isaac tells me, as this meant you are actually nearly finished it. And yes, I am nearly finished. There’ll be just one read-through left after this round of editing, and then it’ll be deciding on what happens next. That’s a scary thought. I’ve spent a long time on this book, making it the best I can, but what if it isn’t good enough? What if no one likes it, no one buys it or reads it?

There are a lot of conflicting emotions going on, but it’s important for me to remember why I set out to write this book. I wanted to tell a story. I wanted to tell this story and I think it’s a good one. So, I will finish. I’m not a quitter and no matter how many times I’ve said ‘I give up’ over the years, I don’t ever really give up. Those people who know me well enough know that I’m determined (for that, read stubborn) and I will finish this project.

So as the end is in sight, how did I make use of this afternoon? Well, I recrafted two of the four chapters I have left. I’m now stuck on one scene and can’t figure a way out of it, so it’s time for some displacement activity. Anyone for a freshly baked scone?

Do you face resistance and a fear of endings? How do you tackle it? Post your tips in the box below.


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