Monday, May 23, 2005

Writing Tip: Finish It!

Writing is hard work - plain and simple. And nothing is easier than scrapping that attempted piece of writing for any number of reasons. One excuse that you may be tempted to use is - the dog ate it. . . . But that excuse doesn’t work so well anymore, especially in the computer age where your dog (must be one hell of a big one with incredibly strong jaws and stainless steel teeth) ate your hard drive? But you know what I mean. Resist the urge to scrap what you’ve started. It’s a bad habit to get into.

Instead, get into the habit of finishing what you started. Even if the first few pages of that story you wrote suck (and this is purely subjective - what may suck to you may blow to somebody else) go ahead and finish it off to the best of your abilities. By always finishing pieces you start you will achieve three important things. No, I am not talking sex, drugs and rock and roll (while important for procreation, disease treatment and juicing your mojo, they do not entirely apply in this case).

The three important things I speak of are, 1) creating the habit of finishing your projects, 2) creating work which you can share, market and maybe even get paid for, 3) raising your self-esteem by increasing your body of work knowing you can finish what you start.

But you are talking short pieces, what about my sextet (come on I had to use that word - sex sells - doesn’t it?) of space opera novels? Well, in this case break it down into chapters. Finish each chapter and after a while (of hard work mind you) you will have a completed novel. Then you are on to the next knowing full well you can do it. And you can do it! Hear me. I repeat - You can do it! (Gee, that started sounding like Bob the Builder - but he is not a bad little puppet claymation - whatever the hell he is - character to listen to for advice in this area). You really can do it.

Anyway - by working hard and completing what you start you will find that all of a sudden you are more inspired, you have a happier writing life and you feel proud of what you can accomplish and others will take notice and be proud of your accomplishments as well. Think positive. You can finish that short story you started about the two headed albino racoon which ate you next door neighbor. You can finish your ten novel fantasy series (Glen Cook did with his Black Company books) And believe me (I have somewhere in the 50+ finished short stories) after a while you will be compelled to finish what you start and that is a powerful boost to your self confidence. And it doesn’t just apply to writing either. . . . It can apply to sex, drugs and rock and roll if those are the goals you have set yourself in life.

And another little closing note here - finishing the stories you start provides you valuable practice. Learn from what works and what doesn’t and before you know it those newer finished pieces will be sold, editors will be asking you for more, and you may just have yourself a nice little writing career. And nothing (I imagine as I dream of and work towards one myself) could be a sweeter reward for all of your hard work. So listen to Bob the Builder’s advice when he says, "You can do it", and go ahead and -

Finish It!

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