Finish What You Start!

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Writing Workshop
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I had this conversation with my son the other day. His mind is full of great story ideas, they seem to just flow from him like a well spring of fiction water. He has started several stories, but as of yet not finished any. He works on one for awhile then comes up with a new story line, setting the first one aside to work on the new one. He works on that one for a bit then another new one pops in that talented head of his and the process repeats itself. Truth be told, he comes by it naturally. I tend to do the same thing. While writing “Rock Bottom”, I had the idea for a sequel and wrote the first few pages. I had to force myself to set it aside so I could finish the first book. Now I have three stories started including the sequel and am finding it hard to work on any of them.

When writing, my mind becomes fully immersed in the world of my story to the point I find it hard to participate in real life. I have to set time aside to spend in that world or I wont accomplish anything. Switching between that world and reality becomes frustrating add in multiple worlds of different stories and I’m the literary equivalent of a vegetable.

Let’s face it. We all like to tell stories, that’s why we write after all, but putting that story down on paper in a way that other people will read and enjoy, is the hard part. It takes work to gut out the middle of story. Writing the beginning is exciting. Exploring a new world or new idea, building the foundation. As I journey into that story I become impatient, I want to get to my destination, I want to get to the end. The finale is what we are all after. Our good guy won, our bad guy lost and the world is a better place because of it. The tough part is building all the roads in the middle to get your reader, and your characters, from that great beginning to your fabulous ending. Human nature is to avoid what is hard. I think that is why it is so tempting to jump to a new project in the middle of another.

I have made the commitment this week to set two of the stories aside and focus on one until it’s finished. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying to ignore new story ideas. By all means write them down, make good notes to come back to at a later date, but don’t start a new project until you finish the last one. I understand that every writer is different and I will concede that there could be some writers out there that can multitask well enough to be able to write more than one story at a time, but for the majority of us it just isn’t possible.

If you are like me and have more than one project started, pick one and finish it. I’m choosing to finish the shortest one first, then move on to the second shortest. That way I can see progress and keep myself motivated.

  1. Golden says:

    Yeah! I do the same too. Leaving the other unfinished and then making a new one. It is really confusing to choose which story that must be finished first, because ideas are constantly popping out.

    • New ideas are a great thing to have. Make sure you write them down and make some quick notes so you don’t lose them. When it comes to deciding which story to finish first, I look at a few things: Which one am I closest to finishing? Does one happen chronologically before the other or set up the the other?

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