Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

This is the Most Important Goal (ever) for Writers!

I have a specific goal this year. It’s the most important goal I have ever set for myself as a writer, as an entrepreneur, and, quite honestly, as a person.

And if I may be so bold, I think, maybe, just maybe, it could be the most important goal you set for yourself, too. Then again, you might think I’ve gone and lost my mind.

Let's finish what we started.

Several years ago I wrote a short, humorous eBook about living life with ADHD titled, “10 Things I Hate about ADHD” and I gave it away for free. It was a laugh-at-myself sort of book and a lot of people thought it was kind of funny.

Over 100,000 people downloaded it. That’s a heck of a lot more than I expected.

With that kind of traction I thought it would be a neat idea to write an extended edition, a real, honest-to-goodness, “book” and sell it as a Kindle download.

So I spent two years writing it, expanding on the 10 jokes and adding another 10 for good measure. The extended edition is ready to be uploaded to Amazon.

But, and this is a big BUT, the book has been ready for over a year already.

I’m stuck at the finish line. Stuck in extended hesitation.

Maybe you’ve been here, too?

Maybe you wanted to do something, like, say, write a book, and yet when you’re nearly there, nearly complete, getting ever closer to the finish line, you begin to slow down, to stall, to hesitate, and eventually you come to a total shutdown.

Sound familiar?

I hope not. But…

How many of us sabotage ourselves from finishing? Or taking the next, critical step to publication? Or shipping? Or whatever your next step might be.

Perhaps you (like me) fear failure and don’t want to confront this fear.

My short, free eBook was downloaded over One – Hundred – Thousand times. How can I ever hope to compete with that?

There’s no way I’ll ever sell that many copies. No way. Who the hell do I think I am?

I mean, really, why should I put myself through the terrible disappointment that is sure to come?

Or perhaps you (like me) fear success and don’t want to confront this fear either.

What if I sell more copies? Would my life then change dramatically? What would I write to follow up after such a massive success? Or would I stop writing and retire?

This might sound crazy to some (probably not to you), but the possibility of success might actually be scarier than the risk of failure.

Either way, both have caused me to stop right at the finish line.

The questions, the doubts, and all of the, “What if’s…”

Maybe it’s better to not follow through? Perhaps it’s better to stop and never cross the line? Why did I ever think I could compete with the luck I had?

If I stop, I won’t have to confront my fears, no matter how rational or irrational they might be.

Unfortunately, crossing the finish line may be the hardest thing you or I will ever do for our work.

Crossing the finish line may be the hardest thing you will ever do for your work. (Click to Tweet)

If you give it some thought I’m sure you can identify something(s) you started that you stopped for seemingly no reason at all.

But there was a reason.

Wasn’t there?

Do yourself a favor and go back to whatever it was and finish it, don’t worry about what will come.

Free it. Publish it. Ship it.

As they say, what will come will come. And you know what? It will be okay.

It’s worth it.

Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.” ―Neil Gaiman

Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. (Click to Tweet)

There’s a tension between success and failure, a place where we feel uncomfortable because we are uncertain. In such moments when we feel like stopping, it helps to remember why we started in the first place.

Don’t finish for the promise of money or accolades, finish because that’s what you do after you start something.

This year my goal is to finish what I started.

Don’t you think that’s a pretty important goal? Do you have a project you haven’t shipped yet? Maybe talking about it and sharing it with us will reignite your passion to finish it. Tell us about it in the comments.

Let’s finish what we started this year. Let’s do that. What do you say?

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • http://www.The-How-to-Guru.com/ The How-to Guru

    Excellent! I needed this encouraging word this morning. Thanks for the kick 😉
    blessings,
    Shan

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      You’re welcome. 🙂

  • Katina Vaselopulos

    As always, great advice, Bryan! Just what I needed. Thank you!
    Love and Light,
    Katina Vaselopulos

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Thanks, Katina.

  • Densie Webb

    Wrote a long comment, but it never appeared. Anyway, good post.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      I hate when that happens. I wish there was a way to save our comments as we write them. Thanks, Densie.

  • http://www.mudpiewriting.com/ Marcy Mason McKay

    Downloaded over 100,000 times! That’s incredible and PROVES there’s a need for more about ADHD. I’ve found (with my writing and the rest of my life) that when I’ve had the courage to do the things that terrified me most…they’ve had the best reception.
    Why? Because it rang true and resonated with people? Did everyone love it?
    No. There are definitely haters out there, but more folks loved it than did not. Many emailed me to say thank you and they touched my heart the most because my words helped them.
    Your words will do the same. I hope you’ll publish your book.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      I will publish it. Pretty soon, in fact. Just got edits back a couple weeks ago and with some time off next month I will be able to upload it to Amazon, finally. 🙂

      I’m glad to hear you keep following through. You’re an outstanding writer who clearly understands the human spirit.

      • http://www.mudpiewriting.com/ Marcy Mason McKay

        Thanks for that compliment, Bryan. I am THRILLED you’re going to publish this book, and so very soon. Congrats on revisiting this fear and conquering it!

    • http://jakedparent.com Jake D. Parent

      Beautifully said, Marcy.

  • Susie Klein

    YES! This hit me right between the eyes this morning! Thank you! Saving, sharing and obeying. Ha!

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      lol Do it.

  • http://www.pirkkorytkonen.com Pirkko Rytkonen

    Yes!!!! I will finish the book I started. This is the year to finish. Thank you for the reminder.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Go for it!

  • AnnM

    It was good to read your post. That’s about where I’m at. While I’m simply writing for me, no problem! Once others get into the mix I freeze up. I’m close to finishing two projects. Two novels. I started the second with the idea it would gain me more confidence to finish and publish the first but it hasn’t really happened.
    I’ve read ‘writer’s doubt’ as well as other helpful books and I do think my writing has improved, yet thinking of putting it “out there” is a bit too challenging. I hope I will get there…. I want to get there.
    So keep these posts coming as it keeps many of us, I’m sure, from quitting all together and giving in to our fears.
    Thanks!

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Hi Ann, as long as you keep writing I believe you’ll get to a place where you are ready to publish. Just keep going. The great thing is, the more you write, the more you improve along the way.

      • AnnM

        Thanks Bryan, I have certainly felt that over the last year or so by joining In These blogs, reading about writing, and researching my subject.
        I have been enjoying the journey, so as a stop along the way I would like to drop off a manuscript at a publisher (or e-publisher)
        I appreacisted your encouragement.

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    First off, congratulations on selling 100,000 copies of your free E-book! #HUGSSS Second, I have more problems starting a project than finishing it, although the finish line scares me too…

    Thank you for a powerful reminder to constantly ship whatever you write – some pieces might scatter, but the most important ones will fall into place and bless you with sustained happiness!

    Kitto

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      So true.

  • Youcanthidethespark

    Brilliant post and it arrived in my inbox at exactly the right time – I have a little self-help book that keeps buzzing around in my mind. It seems to want to be a PDF on my blog. I keep on dismissing it and trying to swat it away, but I’m going to rethink things now after reading your post. Thank you for being so open about how you feel (it’s good to know we all feel the same way) and good luck with the book!

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Thanks! A book as a PDF is a great call-to-action for your subscribers.

  • http://celiackiddo.wordpress.com/ Dana Schwartz

    Your record of over 100 k is absolutely stunning! And I agree that finishing can be the hardest part. My goal is to finish this latest draft of my novel by my birthday in June.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Go for it, Dana!

  • http://www.myfreelancelife.com/ Williesha Morris

    Did you have an audience as large as you do now when you did that? That’s incredible! I recently shoved aside a couple of self-help books, but I may put them back on the “shelf.” Thanks.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      I already had a rather “large” audience in the ADHD community, but what helped more is that I uploaded it to several large websites that offered books for free, such as http://www.free-ebooks.net/

      • http://www.myfreelancelife.com/ Williesha Morris

        Great to know. Thanks!

  • Lauren R. Tharp

    I had a major setback last year that threw a lot of my projects off; however, this year, I am determined to FINISH what I started as well. Best of luck to you, Bryan (and the Positive Writer audience)! I’m right there with you.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Best of luck to you, too, Lauren. But somehow I think you’re going to be fine.

      • Lauren R. Tharp

        Thanks, guys!

    • http://jakedparent.com Jake D. Parent

      Good luck, Lauren. Way to stay determined.

  • http://unleashthewritestuff.com/ Joe Kovacs

    Thanks for the great advice about finishing what you write, Bryan, and congratulations on the 100,000 downloads. I’m sure your expanded edition will do very well. You obviously have a very enthusiastic audience of supporters and you seem like a great guy. I’m happy to have recently discovered your blog.

    A little over a year ago, I was in a situation where I had finished my novel. It had taken a very long time to write because, as I only recently discovered, I took a cerebral approach to my writing, which meant I would think and write at the same time. Bad idea. So when I finished the novel, I decided to test myself and to try to start and finish a writing project in a relatively short period of time.

    There had always been an image in my head and I’d never written about it. So I used that image as a starting point and, within a little over a month, I had finished writing a 70-page novella. I had never done anything like that before! I even read it just last week and still liked it. Fear didn’t really play a role in the process–the fear of success or failure–but I did have to change my approach to writing to get it finished. I love the Neil Gaiman quote you offer here.

    Thanks again and best of luck with your new publication. I will cross my fingers for you.

    Joe

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Thanks, Joe. And best of luck to you, too!

  • http://www.rawstorylife.com/ Lorna Faith

    Needed to read this today as I’m on the last few chapters of my book and I was feeling discouraged and plagued by doubt and fear of “crossing the finish line.” Thanks so much Bryan – you’re a blessing!

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  • KAT FOLEY

    I have finished my two children’s books. I am struggling with Kindle formatting this week, specifically converting from Word for Windows to HTML without losing my formatting. However, I have purchased Aaron Shepherd’s instruction books, in addition to downloading Kindle’s instruction book. I am consistently working with these daily. These are my first efforts at self-publishing — beyond my Master’s thesis. 🙂

  • Carly Monteith

    Bryan, so how does that happen you are in my head so often? I will be having doubts or thinking about whether I can finish something and BANG there you are writing about it. Thank you for taking my fears and making them public. Just kidding really you are my muse!

    Because of your book, Writers Doubt, just yesterday I pulled the trigger on a blog post that had been sitting in draft for a long time. It is difficult to write about one’s own grief and sharing your tears with the world is terrifying. You helped me to cross that finish line and I thank you once again.