The problem with being a writer is all those published works sitting on shelves, in Kindles and in libraries. Those novels, thesis, research papers, articles, non-fiction manuscripts belonging to OTHER PEOPLE. Those horrible swats who managed to completed their publishing goals and are now reaping the benefits of a job finished. Sometimes the benefits are royalties, or another ticked box on the CV, or simply never having to look at that book ever again. But, either way, they are finished. You are not. And you are jealous.
In hopes of thrashing this jealousy, I am reblogging a piece from a dear friend of mine who accepted a late submission date for her PhD thesis. It is very rare for a PhD student to finish on time and most UK PhD students take extensions to ‘write-up’. In all my years of hanging about academic, I only know one person who submitted without an extension. However, no matter how much she knew this, she – at first – saw the extension as a failure.
The blog is her story after coming to terms with this extension, and I am posting it because writers out there will find her words very familiar. Whether you’re writing an academic thesis or a novel, it is easy to become frustrated when completion dates come and go. We call ourselves failures, we compare ourselves to what (we think) we know about published authors, and it makes us want to quit.
But, we can’t quit. It is normal for a long work of writing to take time. It is normal for life to get in the way. It is normal for us to stumble as we go.
Actually, it’s not just ‘normal’; time, life and stumbling are necessary to great works. Without these things passion, knowledge and insight will not be a part of the final project. Without extensions our work will never be done.
So, read this piece from Telling Tales, and remember that only liars (or those that sold their souls to the devil) finish on deadline.