Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Unfinished Writing Projects

If your name is Karma, then the poster's advice is fine. If you have a different name, then it's up to you to bring out those unfinished projects and work on them. But do stay calm!

Most writers have at least one, if not more, unfinished story, book, poem, article--whatever kind of writing there is. When inspiration first hit, you worked on the story with enthusiasm. Then something happened.

You finished the first draft, put it in a file to simmer a bit and moved on to another writing project. Or, you came to a tough spot that you couldn't seem to get through, so you put the piece in a file and vowed to come back to it later. Or, you sent your finished draft to your writing group for critiques and you got so many negative responses that you dumped it back in the file and walked away, frustrated and unhappy. Leave it! you told yourself.

There are valid reasons for putting unfinished projects to the side. If you've ever done it, have you found that piece of writing popping into your head at the oddest moments? Does it occur to you that if it continues to swirl in your head, there may be a valid reason? That perhaps you are meant to pull that file and start working on the story again? 

What if you've taken this attitude of Keep calm and let karma finish it? Good way to get around some hard work but the story will never see the light of day, let alone be published if you do that. 

I've had a middle grade fiction novel in my files for longer than I care to admit. I've subbed it to crit groups twice and gotten good responses and lots of advice. I tried marketing it way back when it was in its first stages of development. Even then, there was mild interest but no takers. I know it's got possibilities but it's not quite the best it can be yet.

All this time, that novel and its characters appear in my mind at the strangest times. It's almost as though they are calling out to me for help. And I do know they need help. They can't stand on their own as the novel stands now. 

And guess what? Karma will have nothing to do with this project getting finished. It's up to me and only me. So, why do I keep stalling? That's the key question for any of us who have unfinished pieces of writing. 

I can think of several reasons that we do not finish a project: 
  • it's hard work
  • fear of not being able to succeed
  • too many other projects in the works
  • self-doubt
  • already worked on this too long and maybe I can't do any more
  • won't be able to work out the rough spots
  • sick and tired of it
  • didn't care enough about the project anyway
  • not as inspired as when first starting the project
  • it's hard work (yes, same as the first one in the list--it's a biggie)
If you think about that unfinished story off and on, it must mean something to you. If that's the case, isn't it worth allowing yourself another chance to create a better story? Give it another go so you won't end up regretting ignoring what was once an enthusiastic project. I'm going to take my own advice here and aim to revise and edit my novel one more time.

You started, now finish it!

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