I’m really good at coming up with book ideas. I can see the characters in my head, and they talk to me like I owe them money. I can imagine the beginning, middle and a didn’t-see-that- coming, intense ending. But when it comes down to it, I fall flat. I can write 3,000 words in a sitting and will get six, eight chapters in before I hit the proverbial brick wall.
This process has worn me down. I’ve even stopped telling people about my working plots (maybe it’s other people’s energy that keeps jinxing my projects), afraid that the project I’m excited about today won’t ever get finished. I even read other people’s work; terrible stuff that I hope will kick me in the butt and make me write. I chastise myself, thinking “if this crap has been published, what am I waiting on?”
If you’ve been following the blog, you know that 2012 has been all about getting outside my comfort zone. It’s a deceiving little place, as it feels so warm and cozy and it really makes me think that staying home instead of networking is a good idea. In the past, I’ve convinced myself that continually changing plot direction or changing characters will work. Truth is, its a game I play that only keeps me away from a finished book.
Now, I’m throwing that kind of thinking out the window. I’m telling myself that if I can see it in my head, and if it touches me in a way that I think will resonate with others, it must be good enough to finish. I owe it to the creativity that is bursting to get out, the chance to be seen by the world.
Here are three things you can do to see yourself to the finish line:
1. Take Advantage of Momentum-
Starting is the easy part. It’s keeping the energy up and seeing a project to completion that’s hard. In order to actually finish a project, you’ve got to ride the wave of momentum when it’s there. If you’re in the mood to write, WRITE! Stay up until 3am if you have to, just write while it’s fresh on your mind.
2. Stop Being Ashamed of Your Ugly Baby-
Many of us find it hard to let other people read our stuff. We are reluctant to even let an editor touch it, afraid they will judge our writing like its a baby we just gave birth to. The truth is, not everybody is going to like your writing. Whether your book proves to be that gorgeous, award winning baby on the cover of magazines, or a strange little thing nobody takes a second look at, it yours. Stop being ashamed of it. Keep writing as if nobody will ever see it, and maybe one day they’ll love it.
3. Write Every Single Day-
Successful writers write every day, not just when they feel like it. Being self disciplined is half the battle, and if you can manage to write every day towards a bigger writing goal, you’re well on your way. I give myself 1,000 word chunks to finish daily. Do I sometimes fall asleep when I’ve only penned 879? Yes. But after I wipe drool from my mouth, I finish the last 121 words and call it a night. Reading what I’ve written the next day sometimes proves to be jibberish, but at least I’ve gotten a few words closer to my overall goal.
It’s the hardest thing some of us have ever done, and we want our life’s work to be perfect. But since it will never be perfect, do yourself a favor and just finish the book already!