Is it a need to be the best at your chosen profession? Is it a contrariness in your nature, to make certain that all who doubt you will have to eat crow?
Are you obsessed and can do nothing other than what you’re doing?
For me, I’ve always been driven to succeed with my writing. I like to tell stories. Some of them are true. Most aren’t. I’d like to be known for the truths I tell. I’d like to be admired for my ability to write about historical events. The fact of the matter is I can’t. When it comes to writing military history, I need to know everything.
Absolutely everything about a subject before I feel comfortable enough to write intelligently about it. If there’s a document out there, I need to read it. Someone who lived it? I need to speak with them about it.
But just as I’m driven to know everything about an historical subject, so too am I driven to write my stories. This focus in regards to my fiction is both good and bad, like so many other qualities in a person.
The pros, well, I want the story to be the finest I can craft before I set it free into the wild.
The cons, well, I want the story to be the finest I can craft before I set it free into the wild.
Do you see the dilemma?
I’m sure that you, as an equally driven individual, can see it as easily as I do. And so we come to the real question: what do we do about it? When can we let go of the story and say, ‘Go then, and do what you will.’?
That has always been the most difficult part of writing fiction, deciding when the story is ready to go. I’ve been fortunate in finding a few magazines and publications that have been willing to take a chance on me. But it took a long time, and it requires drive and focus.
Focus on what you want, and drive yourself toward it.
There’s no guarantee of success. There’s no guarantee of greatness.
But there sure as hell isn’t if you never try.
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