Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Simplest Way to Write to the End

"I have a ton of great ideas. I start stories all the time, but never finish any." 
At #Write2TheEnd, we hear this from writers all the time. This, too:

"I have this story I'm dying to tell. I started it years ago. I've started it several times, but can't make myself finish it."

There are a million things we could say about sticktoitiveness, evaluating an idea's merits, and choosing one's projects wisely...

...but all that would just fill up space, without getting to the real core answer.

How does one finish a writing project? Do one of two things:

If it's within your grasp, take it!
1.) Pick the lowest hanging fruit.

Perhaps you have a plethora of stories all banging about in your head, clamoring for attention. Perhaps you suffer from "Magpie Syndrome" and are easily distracted from one project by others that look shinier, easier, more fun (funner?), or more worthy.

Ok, then.   Choose the story that is closest to being done -- the one that won't take much to push it over the edge to completion.

Now, look at the calendar. Give yourself a deadline. Make it reasonable so you don't set yourself up for failure, but ambitious enough that it challenges you. Sometimes all it takes to finish something is a concrete challenge we deem worthy of accepting.

Work on nothing but that until it is finished, edited, polished, and ready to send out into the cold, cruel world.


Om nom nom. Writing is *delicious.*
2.) Feed your soul. Choose the project that most speaks to you. The one you can't stop thinking about. The one you *have* to write.

You know the one.

Perhaps you’ve felt writing was frivolous, or bought into the notion that there were other, more worthwhile things you should be doing with your time. Many of us were nurtured to seek more lucrative than creative pursuits, but writing calls us anyway.

So go ahead: give yourself permission to get the words out of your head and into the world.

Take that project out of the bottom drawer (or your hard drive), dust it off (or update it to the latest version of Word), look deep into it's eyes and make it a promise...

Promise to work on no other creative endeavor until it is finished, edited, etc.

Notice a common thread?



Working on multiple projects at a time is like fighting a war on many fronts. It disperses your creativity rather than distilling it and concentrating it, making it far too easy to lose focus, drive, or passion.

Want to finish something? Then it's time to overcome your commitment issues.

Pick one.

Roll up your proverbial sleeves and get to work.

Stick with it.

Wrestle with it.

See it through. Then move on to another.

We never said the advice was easy, but it is simple.

What's the best advice you ever heard for finishing something? Tell us!

Adapted from a MuseInks blog post.

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