We all have files upon files of unfinished projects. For various reason we lose interest in whatever it is we’re working on. Family demands, work get’s chaotic, or we just lose motivation to work on that specific piece and before we know it it’s been shoved so far back on our shelves there’s a small village of dust bunnies living upon it.
There are some thing that you can’t avoid that keeps you from your projects. A family member get’s sick, or worse. Kids have after school / summer activities that demand your attention. Hell, kids demand your attention in general. I have two boys and when their out of school getting even the most basic of things finished becomes a challenge.
Of course we try to plan for this. We etch time out of our busy schedules and stubbornly state that we’re going to write everyday no matter what.
Yeah okay, Susan. What happens if you’re stranded in the middle of the Texas desert and being chased by a man with a chainsaw?
You gonna ask him to give you a few minutes so that you can write something?
I didn’t think so.
Anyways, point is life is unpredictable. You as a person are unpredictable. What you thought cool and exciting six months ago now seems like the lamest thing ever since…..sliced bread.
( Yeah, that’s it. Stop starring at me.)
The irony is that I’ve been struggling to finish this blog for a week now. I started when I had an upstart on an old story that has been sitting on my computer for nearly a year and I got inspired to tell myself to finish what I start.
That being said, it’s been a week and I’m still chastising myself.
The best way I’ve found to get stuff down is if I have a big note card taped to something right in front of me and I’m staring at it day in and day out. It’s how I finished the first draft of Stop the Raven.
How I continue finishing revisions and other necessary steps to getting this project published.
I find having a daily reminder staring at me tends to keep me going. Gives that small kick that I need to focus and get shit done.
Others might not find this to be very helpful. Sometimes it’s a friend or family member that motivates you one in of two ways.
The person is really excited to read your work and that makes you want to complete said tasks just for them.
The person doubts that you will even finish and thus inspires you to complete said tasks.
Let’s hope that you only have the first person in your life, seeing as Doubting Dan can be a tad annoying, and upsetting all in one roll.
Ignore Dan. He’s just going to bring you down.
Find some reason to sit down and finish what you start. Even if it’s just so you can say you finished it and shove it back into that forgotten shelf with that village of dust bunnies.
Sometimes it’s not possible. You stare at a piece for so long and you’ve lost it’s story. You don’t even know where you got the idea from much less how to even continue it. To make it worse, you’ve forgotten the characters, or their just not talking to you.
That’s fine. That happens from time to time. It doesn’t make you a bad writer. Most people do this. Stephen King wrote Under the Dome back in his early career – in the 80’s I want to say but don’t quote me on that – and realized the project was too big for him and shelved it. Came back to it years later and it turned out to be a great book. One of my favorites anyways.
You notice I mention King in here a lot. That’s cause I admire him and love his writing. Whenever I find myself not wanting to write I turn to his stories and interviews and find that I’m willing to continue working .
Go figure. I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way.
Try. Do your level best to cross that work off your lists. Even if you shelve it and never think about it again there’s a great satisfaction in putting a something in that complete pile. Even if it’s a piece of shit that no one’s going to read. It’s there for your knowledge anyhow.
But don’t beat yourself up to much if you can’t finish it. Move on to something that you know you’re going to stick with and finish. That will boost your morale and teach you something else about your writing process is.
Each finished or unfinished draft is a learning process. Something that you take with you on your way to be a bigger and better writer.
So go on. Go finish whichever project is currently inspiring you. That one that’s going to give you that giddy feeling in your stomach when you can cross it off and go on to the next phase.
Cause you know you really just want to finish that that work.