How many times have you been in the middle of a project and freaked out about how it might end?
We all get there.
It doesn’t matter if you’re putting together furniture, crocheting a blanket, writing a story, or maybe raising a kid. The middle of everything is terrifying. Whether there’s instructions or not, nothing guarantees a positive outcome. Maybe the manufacturer didn’t package enough nails. Maybe your kid breaks a bone. Maybe your story is poop and no one will ever read it.
The maybes live deep in our brains. They dwell there. Lingering in the shadows, they let us forget they exist and pop out at the most inconvenient opportunities.
Self-doubt is a survival skill, I’m convinced. We check ourselves because if we don’t, sometimes we light ourselves on fire or overlook real problems that turn into catastrophes. Look at modern politics…
Bad example. Never bring up politics. That just leads to shouting (and maybe stress eating ice cream while sobbing late at night).
Look at your successes. Did you fear starting? Was finishing a smooth path that you always knew you’d get to?
Some people say starting is the hardest part. That might be true for a lot of people but I think powering through the middle is the true living nightmare. Writing the middle of a story is torture. You need to get your characters past their worst flaws and somehow to the biggest challenges they will ever face. It’s a mess. Much like the pre-teen years.
Everyone jokes about how hard parenting teens is, but the tween years are the preface. Those are the days where a kid doesn’t know want to seem babyish but can’t really go off and jump into everything yet. It sucks. I hated middle school far worse than the beast that high school was. (That whole “best years of your life” ideal is outdated. The best years of my life are adulthood – no contest)
It’s crazy and jarring and everything is uncertain when you’re drifting through the middle of anything, but that’s why getting to “The End” is so important. The end of childhood leads to the beginning of adulthood. Finishing a blanket often brings a person to meet a new baby who will stain it with life. Getting that damn IKEA furniture put together fills new houses with space to dance or veg out.
For us authors it means finally reaching readers, finally connecting with the audience we so greatly cherish.
The middle doesn’t always suck. The middle is life: it’s terrifying but you get through it.