By all standards, I’m a brave soul. Confident, comfortable in my own skin, willing to say what I feel, at least on the blog- that describes me to a reasonable extent.
I’m also pretty organised and go about my day with clearly chalked-out time zones for my work and chores. Yes, social media is a distraction but it has dropped to a mild noise in the background instead of being the main score in my mundane existence.
So, why then have I not finished my work in progress? It was February of this year when I started work on it and it’s only at 6500 words.
It’s non-fiction, by the way, which makes it that much harder, since I have to sift through my memories and make sure I don’t mix up emotion with fact. Details have to be painstakingly clear and written with a precision that would put a cartographer to shame.
Time is no longer willing to stand idly by and take the blame for me, since my brain does a decent job of using the minutes at my disposal.
Interestingly enough, it was when I was reading a post on another’s blog and when I left a comment there that the answer came to me.
A writer from the pre-Internet era had a distinct advantage over the ones who put pen to paper today. (We don’t put pen to paper, obviously, but you get the picture). They were not subject to the instantaneous fame/infamy that came their way thanks to the foghorn that is social media.
A work published today, if marketed reasonably well, will have readers within the first week. In some cases, the critics will start sharing their views within half a day of laying their hands on the books.
In many cases, there will be the armchair critics, the annoyed readers and the ones who have a personal grudge against the author, who won’t hesitate to rip the work to shreds, based on a private vendetta. Still others who read the book may give it a low rating simply because a small portion of it didn’t appeal to them.
That bad review, that rating without forethought, that criticism is what keeps me from finishing the work. It’s bad enough that it’s a topic which is likely to stoke controversy in some circles. It’s equally likely that some people may come off seeming like the bad guys in the larger picture. I’m fairly certain that there are going to be more than a few ruffled feathers and severed friendships.
What I can do without is the quick draw that hampers judgement. What I can hope for is a complete reading and a balanced review.
It shouldn’t keep me from writing. Most days, unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens.