Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad; whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.
- John le Carre
- John le Carre
The Zeigarnik Effect (Start Something)
I originally wrote this post at the end of October with the intention of posting it the first week of November but for some reason it stayed in the virtual file cabinet called Evernote for a whole month because I'm lame / I'm a bad blogger / I got real busy with stuff. Whatever. =P Anyways, I've unearthed this piece and going over it again.
I recently read about the Zeigarnik Effect, see its definition below as taken from PsychWiki
The Zeigarnik Effect is the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008, pg. 122). The automatic system signals the conscious mind, which may be focused on new goals, that a previous activity was left incomplete. It seems to be human nature to finish what we start and, if it is not finished, we experience dissonance.
By starting something, we tend to have this desire to complete this task. Of course this goes hand in hand with focus and not procrastinating but from what I gather, we'll always strive to finish what we started.
I just released my first novel a couple of months ago. I sure as hell didn't write that in a month or less. More like slowly punching letters in between projects for about a couple of years. Could I have done all that in less time? Absolutely. But regardless of how long it took to write, rewrite, and rewrite some more, the important thing is that it's done, and in channeling my inner Seth Godin, I shipped it.
Come to think of it, penning the first draft was by far the easiest aspect of writing and publishing a novel in my own humble opinion. It's everything else after that took a bit of time.
Of course there were hurdles along the way.
Resisting the urge to edit while you write. This was a big one for me. It was horrible. I just couldn't help myself and didn't even realize I was doing it. I had to break that habit real quick which greatly improved my daily writing output in my current works in progress. By criticizing and doing line edits instead of focusing on getting the initial story out it was taking time and focus away from getting those critical initial thoughts down on paper. Bad writer! =)
I went through periods where I would set the novel aside and pick it up a month later. What happens is that I have to get myself reacquainted with the work again. So now instead of juggling two or three different stories all at once which I used to do and still have a slight tendency of doing. I just focus on one and complete it before moving on to something else.
See, I'm kind of doing it again right now. Here I am typing this blog post while thinking about another blog post I'll be working on at a later date. Focus man, focus!
After the rewrites, I had a hell of a time formatting this for some reason. I never had any issues with formatting any of my past works but for some reason this one was a doozy. Of course this was formatted for the print book as well so that was mainly the cause of my headaches. I think I spent an entire day, formatting, reformatting, and testing the sucker until i was happy with the results. Live and learn, eh?
Then again. it's just like anything in life, it gets easier the more you do it.
Despite its share of hair-pulling moments, this first novel is something I'm very proud of.
Anyway, I've always known this work couldn't be contained in 1 volume. Even during its early stages I've already had ideas for at least a Book 2. So in terms of works in progress, I'll be working on Book 2 next year, that's the plan anyway, to stat work on it.
I want to thank everyone who has helped me with my books, whether you bought it / tweeted about it / retweeted or whatever. It truly does help in getting the word out. I try to plug every so often on Twitter but I hate to be one of those folks that constantly peddle their wares. There's a way of doing it that is not intrusive.
Another quick sale, my 2nd one. If you want to snap up a digital copy for only $2.99, that's $2 off, just go here https://gumroad.com/l/XpkA
Then enter the code: panic
First 25 purchases gets it.
You'll get a zip file with a pdf, epub, and mobi files of the novel.
Stay tuned for the next blog post in which I'll briefly go over my process of cover art design.
Till next time,
Your friendly neighborhood letter puncher.
P.S. Don't forget to start on your project. Get it out of your head and work on it. Create. Make art. Then share. =)