I think it’s because you’re scared. You’re scared of what people might think, that they might not like it.
Perhaps you’re scared that no one will care, that no one will even notice. So you waffle about, redo paragraphs, and move things around. That book isn’t getting done, it’s never getting done.
So what can you do about this? You need to stop caring.
When I was a freshman in high school I took keyboarding. You had to learn how to type, and it sucked. I was really concerned about accuracy, and therefore my typing speed was really low. I was getting ticked off, for the ‘nit-wit’ girl sitting next to me was even going faster than I.
Finally one day I decided to say ‘the hell with it’, like the teacher was advising. I stopped focusing on accuracy and just started to type. I looked at the screen less and at the typing manual more. Lo and behold, my speed went up…though my accuracy went down big time.
That accuracy went up over time, and so did my speed. After a few months I was doing really well and getting good grades in that class. Today I can type like the wind blows.
In that keyboarding class, I was afraid. I was afraid of making mistakes, or ruining my ‘quality’ work. No one was ever going to look at that work, and even the instructor said that they didn’t much care about mistakes, but it was a hang-up for me. And for a long time I suffered because of it, my skills stagnated, and I didn’t grow.
That’s how your book is too – it’s an evolving thing, one that never should be going after perfection, the same as you. It’s like happiness – Thomas Jefferson gave us the right to pursue it, but he never gave us the right to have it.
If you’re trying to make your book perfect, you’re spinning your wheels in the mud. And you know what? Most readers don’t care. They skip over the words and turn the pages quickly.
What might be an awesome three-page section to you is just that little bit they could finish during break time.
That incredible scene of love and redemption is just a part they want to move through quickly, getting back to the action.
Hours of blood, sweat and tears are but a few chapters they’ll read and likely forget, for this isn’t the same to them as it is to you.
These are all rather silly reasons not to finish your book, but you’re letting them hold you back anyways. You’re not finishing, you’re going back and redoing, and that means you’re stalled. The book is stalled and going nowhere fast and you have no idea what to do about it.
Do what you have to do to finish your book. If it’s anything like mine, you’ll get a few sales from family and friends and then it’ll fall off a cliff. So all that hard work doesn’t really matter. It’s much better to throw caution to the wind and just go with it. That’s what your readers want anyways, excitement and rashness and a ‘fuck it’ attitude. They can get ‘safe’ at home, at work, and just about everywhere else. They’re coming to you for the lack of safety.
So stop fussing about and finish that book already!