This past week I heard an author refer to her books as her babies and it got me thinking. For years I worked on my book baby; I brainstormed, did character sketches, daydreamed, built it up, put it on a pedestal, and made it a monster undertaking.
You’ve never heard of Magic & the Machine but it was meant to be my fantasy debut novel. It has magic, mechs, a new fae-like race, romance, action, and adventure. I originally began development of the project in high school and had no idea what I was doing.
I hyped the novel in my own mind so much that when I sat down to write it, I worried I wouldn’t do it justice. So I didn’t write it, I kept daydreaming. I had to get it right the first time, right? I mean, the Greats knocked it out of the park their first try, right? Uh, no. I still had no idea what I was doing.
Finally, in 2007 I decided to buckle down and write it during NaNoWriMo. After my first win the previous year, I thought I’d write this epic fantasy that would enthrall readers for generations. What I ended up with was 50k words of crap. Seriously, it’s crap. But it was a learning experience.
I finally got over my hang up that it had to be perfect and I got my ideas on paper. My book baby was no longer this idealized monster in my head, it was an imperfect rough draft on paper. It’s something I can work with in the future, if I so chose.
My book baby was my biggest obstacle. The dream was so big and so hyped in my mind that I balked at making it happen. Holding a project, from writing a book to sewing a dress, so near and dear to your heart to the point you can’t even start is a problem. You can’t finish if you can’t begin, it’s that simple.
Are you held hostage by the pursuit of perfection that you can’t even start your project baby?