I don’t know about anyone else, but I am having an extremely hard time finishing writing projects. I currently have pieces of five unfinished novels (one the sequel to my only published book, Unyoked) and one unfinished novella sitting on the hard drive of my computer. They’re all mocking me. “You’re never going to finish us. We’re just going to sit here, unfinished – unread – useless. Forever.”
Okay, so I’m ascribing a certain nastiness to my unfinished work that it may not necessarily have, but you get the idea. It’s bothersome and annoying. But I’m not all that sure that it’s an unusual problem. I believe that there are other writers out there, just like me, who feel the pressure of unwritten (or unfinished) stories. In fact, I know there is at least one because we were having this discussion on a Facebook page this morning.
I think it’s really a common problem for most creative types. We love that initial stage – the creation – the dreaming. The “what if this happened to that character, and then that character said this to this character and caused this conflict, which led to this disaster, and then on to this resolution.” It’s fun to dream. It’s an exercise in creativity. The actual writing process is much less sexy. It’s long and tedious, but it has to get done, or else you’re not really a writer. You’re just a dreamer. Ouch! That little bit of self-realization stings!
So how do you get past having all these great ideas that never get written? You pick one and write it. You stick with it until it gets done. You force yourself to get at least the first draft finished. Write as if your life depended on it (maybe it does – certainly the lives of your characters depend on it). Don’t stop with the first draft. Well, you can take a little breather. But then, after a week or two – maybe a month – pick that puppy back up and perfect it. Have it read and edited by someone (like me – PLUG! PLUG!), and then send it off to an agent or publisher – or just self-publish. Make it real. Make it yours. Just make it!
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