I was looking through a stack of papers in my office yesteday, feverishly searching for one particular piece. I went through quite a few piles before I found what I had been looking for. But along the way in my seeking, I found something else. There were a whole lot of writing projects that had been started and never--you guessed it--finished.
Back in the years when I sewed and quilted a lot, I often worked nonstop to finish a project, but I admit there are plenty that didn't see an end result. I'm thinking right now of two beautiful quilt tops that rest day after day in the bottom of the cedar chest in one of our guest bedrooms. That's the trouble. They are only the tops, they need a backing and middle and quilting. I truly want to have them complete one day so that each of my children can have one. One was done by their paternal grandmother and the other by my mother and I. She started it, I finished the cross stitch embroidery on the top. I'm making it a goal for 2013 to find someone to finish the two quilts for me since my hands don't work so well on sewing projects anymore.
Back to the writing projects. I found a story for kids that had a good beginning and then nothing more. There was a short story that has possibilities with some revisions but I never got back to it. I found a memoir piece I didn't finish because the subject was rather painful. The one thing I felt in fiinding those half-done stories was guilt. Plus a little anger at myself for having let them sit so long.
I know I'm not alone in having this kind of problem. Lots of writers deal with the same thing. Last night, out of curiosity, I went through My Documents file on my computer to see what, if any, unfinished stories were lurking there. Not as many as I'd feared but enough to make me realize I should work on them one by one until I have the lot done.
The big question today is WHY do we start a story, article or poem and then abandon it? I can think of several.
1. We don't like what we've written so far.
2. We don't have a clue as to how the problem in the story should be solved
3. We don't like the characters we've started with
4. We'd rather work on something new
5. We have no passion for what we're writing at that time
6. We have no motivation--aren't writing for a particular market
7. We don't think it has reader appeal
8. We find a new project that is more appealing
Can you think of any other reasons why we stop in the middle of a writing project? Share them with us via the comments section.
What about solutions? I think I need to take those bits and pieces one by one and attempt to construct a finished piece. I need to make a pile of 'unfinished work' and whittle it down week by week, same with those in the Documents file.
How about you? Do you have lots of unfinished stories? Maybe even an unfinished novel. What are you going to do about it? Something to ponder on today. Before I begin on one of those unfinished stories, I'm going to delve down to the bottom of my cedar chest and unearth those two quilt tops and leave them where I see them every day. That may spur me into action in looking for a quilter to help me make two special quilts.