My first big project is a not-yet-finished novel I wrote when I was 24. That was nearly 6 years ago. It's been burning a hole in my soul since then. For various reasons I've left it unfinished, neglected. A year ago, as if out of nowhere, I suddenly awoke with the ending it needed. I printed out the finished first draft and walked home with the thick stack of papers. I wasn't done just yet, but I'd never been closer.
I went to bed feeling more satisfied than ever. It didn't take a week for the inundation of the task and the deep fear that this will fail anyway to pause the progress. I became scared of reconnecting with it, a character and story I'd obviously lost touch with. The feeling paralyzed me and it remained untouched... again.
I never went to formal writing school. I didn't even major in English. I write because I just do, always have. There's no fancy, superfluous explanation. Most of the time I don't feel qualified other than the fact i'm committed to finding purpose in even the most mundane tasks and expressing them on paper.
This year is the first time this looming pressure hasn't hung over me. I gave myself a hall pass to do anything but focus on finishing this project, a thing that once brought me so much relief but now contributes to growing feelings of inadequacy. I casually picked up my manuscript this week and realized that when I began the story it was expression in its purest form. It poured out of me in haste and I sacrificed a crucial first step: asking myself what I really want to say.