Saturday, December 31, 2005

My New Year's Commitment

Rather than a list of resolutions I am dedicating this post, written on the eve of the New Year, to one single commitment. I have the next semester off from teaching. I have exactly 7 months free to do nothing but finally finish the book I have been writing, rewriting and putting in a drawer for 7 years.

I am a master at putting every possible obstacle that exists in the way of me and completing this writing project. My standards for this finished product are excessive and unobtainable. This past summer I started this very blog as a place where I could post my daily writings and ask for the immediate feedback that every writer craves and fears. What became of this blog and its capacity to draw my attention away from my manuscript is a perfect example of what I am capable of doing rather than finish my book.

What keeps me from finishing is the fact of the book. When it printed, published and put forward for public consumption I will not get to edit it. It will no longer be something that I am working on, no longer something I can make better or smarter. When it is finished it stands alone, free of me, my hopes of it and presents itself to readers who may wholly reject it. I hate that. I hate that I will no longer have any control over its content or its argument.

A few years ago I reconnected with one of my friends from college who writes for the NYTimes. I prostrated myself in front of her accomplishment, her ability to actually meet a deadline every week and put a finished piece of writing in print. No, that isn't why I admire her. If I am totally and perfectly honest with myself, what I truly respected was that she set out to do what she always wanted to do and succeeded.

My journalist friend told me, wisely, that I simply need to give birth to my book, which meant to let it go. So, I swear, publicly, on this blog which has become an alluring distraction that I will finally finish my book. This is not and cannot be a resolution that is essentially designed to be ignored. This is a commitment to finally become the kind of person that I admire, rather than wishing and hoping that I had the courage to do what I always wished I would do.