Words Wednesday: Keeping the faith

11 Dec

You’ve started a project I’m sure, with the best of intentions. Maybe you plotted out exactly what you want to happen or you sketched the big picture, you knew the idea was exciting and fresh and you couldn’t wait to see it realized in your particular medium. Then you start the work. You paint, sculpt, write, tinker; you do whatever it is you need to do to get to the finish line. At some point, what started as a great idea becomes the slog of your life. Everything that was good seems bad, what was once precious is dirt and you suddenly begin to feel like there is no way you can finish and you shouldn’t be the one trying to produce this behemoth.

I had a moment like that last week. I was sitting in the dark staring at 70 pages of writing that felt like a giant pile of mammoth excriment.  My inner critic was telling me to give up. To start the next project which was alive and kicking in my mind. I was just about to close the file when I remembered the ye olde important tenant of writing: you gotta keep the faith. I’m pretty sure this rule only  applies to first drafts because once the thing is done the general rule is: kill your darlings (or sometimes mutilate them).

Keeping the faith is really hard, just ask anyone from the bible ever. It’s hard to feel like you should keep pushing forward when every word or stroke feels like its a fight but thats when faith is the most important. To be clear I’m not talking about faith in your incredible talents as a writer or faith in your ability to sell your project when its done. I’m talking about good old fashioned faith in your ability to finish. Maybe you’re right and your whole project is horrible and people are going to look at you like you have grown four heads with three sets of eyes each but you won’t know that until you’re finished and you can see the whole thing for what it is. You may realize the whole project isn’t a loss, its just one section or just that you need more of something or less of someone. Characters or colors or parts may try to take over and you have to reign them in but you can only do that when you can see the whole.

I mean you wouldn’t stop Steve Jobs in the middle of creating the first Apple computer and say to the man, “Dude, that thing is crazy. You should just stop. This is going no where.” and if you had said that to him where would the world be now? Let’s face it,  Apple has changed the face of business and you never know your project could change the world. Maybe. No one really knows unless you keep the faith and finish it.

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