What is your worst quality?
Well, that’s a loaded question for this overweight, middle-aged woman who has spent a lifetime battling self-esteem issues. Do I really have to narrow it down to just one?
I could talk about my inability to trust or my poor impulse control; I could really dig deep into my tendency to bend the truth when I don’t want to face reality in bad situations.
But the truth is, my worst quality would have to be my utter lack of follow-through.
It has plagued me through my career over the years, whether it meant neglecting to mail out thank-you cards to new clients or procrastinating about filing client records. I would set aside projects and then forget about them when something more interesting came along. I wasn’t incompetent in any of my jobs, but I never reached the potential I could have hit if only I had ever followed through on some of the great ideas and plans I came up with.
It’s been a problem in my personal life as well. I have wonderful ideas for redecorating my home, great plans for the vegetable garden I want to plant, baskets of clean laundry that never make it to a dresser drawer. I have Rubbermaid totes full of half-finished cross-stitch pictures and intricate quilt tops that will never be finished.
I start diets and exercise plans every few months, but the food scale and low-fat cookbooks are as dusty as the treadmill and Gazelle.
My lack of follow-through has had the biggest impact on my dream of writing. I was four years old when I realized that this is what I want to do, what I want to be; that has never changed. While I may lack confidence in many areas, I have no doubts about my writing talent. I have the potential to be really good. I believe that I write well enough to publish my novel and be successful.
But I haven’t written the damn thing.
Life has presented me with an opportunity to sit down and write full-time. When I broke my neck and lost my career, I got the gift of time to do that one thing I have always dreamed of: write a book. No need to shut off the computer and go to work, no boss to argue with when I needed a moment to scribble down an idea. But it’s so much easier to let the computer distract me with Facebook and Listia and Fanfiction.Net rather than follow through and actually write.
My book is half-written and completely planned. It’s also good enough to earn me a spot as a finalist in this year’s Launching a Star contest. One of the first-round judges wrote on the critique that she was “sad when I came to the end of this entry”. But instead of celebrating this huge accomplishment, I am in a state of flat-out panic at the realization that this may lead to a full manuscript request.
Holy crap, what am I going to do if an editor wants to see the rest of it? I might have to actually finish what I started.