Don’t get ahead of yourself
In an old Garfield book we had growing up, there’s a week-long gag about him becoming a writer. In one comic, he says something like, “Lots of people say they want to write a book, but very few actually do something about it.” The punchline is him, still having written nothing, sitting in front of the mirror in a smoking jacket saying, “Yes, this is how I will be photographed for my book jacket.”
The following is an adapted excerpt from Building a Writing Life: start a writing habit, find time to write, discover your process and commit to your writing dreams available now in paperback and eBook.
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I think of this comic often because getting ahead of myself is a trap I fall into again and again. When I started writing my very first book, I spent weeks researching the publishing industry, self-publishing, agents, submissions, author photos, and even marketing techniques when what I should have been doing was finishing my book. Because when I finished that book, and I was ready to put that research to use everything had changed so much, I had to start all over.
This industry shifts so fast, you’re only wasting your time obsessing over a world that will be totally different by the time you’re ready to publish and submit. The biggest favor you can do yourself and your future career is to finish writing the thing, and that means taking it all the way to the end and revising it until it’s as good as you can make. Once you’ve finished whatever you’re writing, you’ll be both a better writer and more familiar with your work. Then you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about what you want to do with it with the options available to you right now.
Finish it first, then worry about what comes next.