Finishing Line

Looking through Neil Gaiman’s blog the other day, I stumbled across something that gave me pause. And rightly so, because it was a list of tips for writers. You can view it here: http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/94130974141/maxkirin-neil-gaimans-8-rules-of-writing-a

Though, of all eight tips, this one is the one that spoke to me the most: 

Of everything on that list, finishing things has been the hardest. It had never been an issue for smaller things, the projects that were short stories or little one-shots when I was a kid, but as my imagination kept running wild, I couldn’t get everything out and it sat in my head until I forgot about it.

Anxiety about getting into a new idea is normal. Look at what’s in front of you, see everything you want to get out and write and dig yourself into and not come up for air until it’s finished. Do not be intimidated, or anxious, or worried. Set your fingers on the keys, get the pen in your hand, and go for it. Don’t let it stop you.

Breaks and stopping points are natural. Give yourself a rest. Go back to it after you’ve gone through a block. But always, always look for the end, and put it in there. Finish it. Achieving that, crossing the line and finally having it all done and down somewhere, is one of the most intoxicating feelings you can imagine.

I found something to write last year, and the minute I hit 50,000 words, I stopped, looked back at where I was, and looked at how much I had to go, and just slumped. I made it a massive project. Huge. I still haven’t finished it. I’m barely even to the middle of the first book of three and it’s staring me in the face. Regardless, I intend to finish it. It is one of the most beautiful and well thought out stories I’ve come up with and I owe it to myself.

That’s another thing, owing it to yourself to finish something. It’s like starting a 5k or a marathon and then ducking under the race tape at the sidelines because you’ve told yourself you can’t finish.

You owe it to your story, your wide, wild imagination that never stops running, to finish, to explore, to write more and more until you’ve finished your literary orchestra of creativity.

Finish it. Whatever it is. Short story, novel, script, sonnet, a series of poems about a specific subject… Take your time. Indulge in it. Revel in its beauty and your impossible ability to create elegance in words.

The finish line may not be for another mile or several miles, but it’s there, and you can reach it, no matter what pace you go.

-The Novice Wordsmith

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14 thoughts on “Finishing Line

  1. Yes, yes, yes! This is so perfect. So important. I’ve heard of so many people who call themselves writers and dream of being authors but never get anywhere because they never pursue it and never finish. The doubt takes over too soon. I love how you say it’s like ducking under the sidelines at a 5k, and we owe it to ourselves and our story to finish. Couldn’t agree more 🙂

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  2. Finishing is important and for novels, it can take time. For instance, I suspect a thorough novel should take at least 1-3 years of development to fully realize its potential before claiming it as finished.

    It’s also important to know when to let go of a story or character or plot point. Recognizing when an element isn’t working and letting it go is part of the process of finishing. That’d be the ‘keep moving’ tip (I’ve read Gaiman’s advice before. His advice sometimes strikes me as blithe though).

    I find it can be hardest to keep working after a lengthier break because when I revisit the manuscript, I’ll find that my tastes have shifted and that I no longer appreciate the style I originally wrote in – or I become overwhelmed with the amount of changes that present themselves. This has happened with two of my projects, happenstance, I have let go of both those projects as well instead of ever finishing them. Letting go of these projects has freed energy for other ones.

    Great post, thx for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was just thinking about that, and I’m so glad you said something, because that’s happened to me a few times too. You set it down and come back and everything’s just different, and you try to get back to it, hell, I tried like crazy to get back into the same swing of things, but it all just feels different. So there is that difference, which is huge. When you can’t get into a project anymore because it just doesn’t line up, you know it’s time to let go.

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  3. Not only is your writing in this post beautiful, but so is the message behind it! Yes, think of how many wonderful ideas for novels are set aside each year because the writers loses faith halfway through. The best way to finish a story is to believe in it – and yep, reach that finishing line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, you’re exactly right. 🙂 Having faith in the project is a big part of finishing! What follows when you have faith is, most often, dedication, motivation, and true interest and inspiration.

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  4. Getting to the finish line has been a real struggle for me. Thanks for the great post and great reminder. Your love for writing really shines through, and it makes me want to write right now! Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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