The Secret

by John J. Miller on August 24, 2009

in Blog Posts

  • Sumo

For a long time, I told almost nobody that I was writing The First Assassin.

My wife knew. So did a couple of friends. But the book was my secret project.

The reason is simple: fear of failure. I didn’t want to announce that I was working on a novel, only to find myself unable to complete it. That would make me just another failed novelist. Everyone would know.

Writing a book can be like running a marathon: If I put in the time and train the right way, I think I could jog for 26.2 miles. Yet there’s always the chance that my priorities will change. Or I’ll wreck my knee. Or I’ll decide I’m not up for it, and stop.

Whatever the cause, the result is the same: failure to achieve a goal. By not advertising the goal, at least it’s possible to keep the failure hidden.

The good news is that over time, I gained confidence in my work. I let more people in on the secret. My motives were often self-serving: I wanted advice on plotting or publishing. I suppose the novel stopped being a secret when I told my editor about it. I asked for a couple of issues off, so I could make a mad dash and finish the manuscript. Since then, I’ve opened up almost completely.

Soon, secrecy will be the enemy: The First Assassin, when it’s published, will cry out for attention.

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