Monday, April 13, 2015

Finishing Forgives All Two.

If I had any advice for beginning writers it would be to finish.

An unfinished book is an albatross around your neck, a stinking reminder of things left undone.  No matter how bad or good a book is, finish it! 

There is such a sense of satisfaction in finishing that it motivates you to continue writing.  You've climbed that mountain.  Doesn't matter how fast or how polished you were doing it. You're on the peak and no one can take that away from you.

You've learned you can do it.  Which means you can do it again.

It made you stronger, you learned some techniques which you can use the next time.  And when you finish the next book, that is even more true.  Finishing means you can look back on the process and analyze what you did right and what you did wrong. It wasn't wasted, no matter if you have witnesses to your achievement.  You know you did it, and that's enough.

Even if you don't think the book is good, finishing means you have something to work on.  You can try to make it better, or you can move on to the next book.  I have several books in what I call "storage":  that is, finished, but not ready for prime-time.  Someday, I'll get back to them, and fix them, and they'll be truly done.  But I had to finish them first.

Finishing the book makes you a writer.  Not finishing means you want to be a writer.  Finishing means you're serious.  Finishing is validation for all the work. 

I can't imagine putting all the work into a book, and getting halfway or two thirds of the way and not finishing.  All that work!  For nothing!

Actually, I can imagine it, because I used to do that, and yes, it was extremely dispiriting, demotivating.  Nothing like spending days and days on something with no result. Yeah, you pretty much don't want to do that again.  Your life was held at abeyance while you wrote, but you have nothing to show for it.

So, finish the book all you writers.


Adam said...

What advice would you give on getting started? The formulation of ideas and plans?

Duncan McGeary said...

For me, it's a bit like daydreaming. You sort of start telling a story to yourself, visualizing what's happening. You write that down, without any editing. You don't read it. You keep telling the story to the end. Then you go back and try to make it actually readable. Something like that.