The second of Heinlein’s Business rules for writers states that “You must finish what you write.” And that’s always been a problem for me. My life is littered with incomplete writing projects I will now never finish. And my life since childhood has been full of unfinished things. “You never finish anything!” my parents would say. Maybe it’s the Asperger Syndrome?
Feeling guilty about not finishing has not helped. White-knuckling my way through— forcing myself to go back to writing projects and finish them— has not helped. Believing I am destined to ‘never finish anything’ has really not helped.
What does help is looking at the stuff I can and do finish. I have finished poems— short poems anyway, not long epic poems or series of poems. I can also finish blog posts— in fact this is the second blog post I am writing this day, and I have every expectation of finishing although I have to break off in a minute to yell swear-words at some cats. (Tomorrow is Lent so I have to get the swearing out of my system today.) But I know I will get back to this post, finish it and post it. (Update: See? I did it!)
OK, so I have two kinds of writing I know I can finish. What I am trying to do now is create a little longer writing project that is similar to writing blog posts, but that will result in a short book— a short ebook anyway. It is about blogging— a topic I blog about here on this blog— and more specifically is for author bloggers who have blogs who are neglected and have few visitors.
My timeline for this project is 12 writing days. My word count goal is about 800 words per day. So far I have skipped a couple of days, and am 9 days in to the project. I am also starting to re-read what I have written to fix what needs fixing, I’ve also designed a book cover on Canva though I may have to tweak it if I modify the book name or tagline before publication day.
The problem is my long history of not finishing is starting to drag me down. I have started so many writing projects with high hopes and seen them bog down. To the point when I start a new novel or short story I feel that the odds are against my ever finishing or even getting to Chapter Seven.
What I am doing is tapping into something I can finish regularly— finish blog posts— and essentially turn a writing project into a short series of blog-post-like chapters. I set a time limit— a deadline— so it will have a finishing point.
When/if this works, I can use the same principle more or less for fictional…. But I probably should not blog about that or even think about that right now. My soon-to-be-finished book on curing blog loneliness is the only think in my universe right now (except cats to swear at and chickens/a goose to feed.)
Is finishing stuff a problem in your writing life? Has anything you have tried helped you? Are there writing things— like writing poems or blog posts is for me— that you can do, easy? Maybe you can use that to help you learn to finish other writing things— drop me a comment and let me know about your struggles and triumphs in finishing things.