I hadn't seen them in a while but that was before I went home for a week and visited my old elementary school and bragged to everyone that I was almost finished with my novel. "Oh! How wonderful!" said my kindergarten teacher. "We are so proud of you!" said the reading specialist, who is friends with my mom and a staunch supporter of my early attempts at children's picture books.
I smiled and smiled but inside I felt sick. I must have known that the gremlins were coming.
They are hovering around me right now, hunched heavy on my shoulders and pawing at my feet. They say things like:
"What's the POINT of finishing? No one is going to read it anyway."
"This story has probably already been written, only better and in less time than it's taking you. You should just go buy that book and read it."
"It's taken you longer to write one decent book than most people take to write three and you're STILL not done. Why bother finishing now??"
"You thought it was good the last time you wrote the story and then you rewrote the entire thing. What makes you think this time will be any different?"
"If you finish and it still isn't any good, you should give up. Get a full time job and never look back. So, maybe it's best if you don't finish. Then you never have to quit you can just say you are taking time off of writing to earn more money."
"You don't deserve this."
I still don't know if I deserve this or not but I'm going to finish. I have to finish. I swear I'm about 20 pages from the end, but suddenly I'm trudging through the Swamp of Sadness and every step, every word, has to be wrung out of me.
"You have to try. You have to care."