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