Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Finish what you start.


- Finish what you start.

Do you get plenty awesome ideas but never finish anything? Is your hard drive full of opening scenes, perhaps even opening chapters, but no finished works?

Lots of writers do, and this failure to launch—a complete inability to stick with a project long enough to finish it—is extremely common. There are lots of reasons why people can’t finish works. The two most common are that they get bored or frustrated or part of them believes the idea isn’t really any good and that self doubt crushes their faith in their own abilities.

It doesn’t really matter why you can’t finish, because the solution is the same. That’s right, no matter how special and unique and challenging your circumstances are—no matter how tortured and scarred your soul is—finishing a project pretty much comes right down to putting your ass in the chair and sticking with it until you’re done.

I’m going to give you some tools to make it easier though.

Firstly you need to accept this: Whatever you are doing, whatever your writing process is, it is wrong. Specifically, it is wrong for YOU. If it was right, you’d have finished something, so you’re going to have to change.

If you say: ‘Oh, but I can only write at 10pm at night, with three Oreos and a double mocha.’ You are wrong. Maybe your true prime writing time is at 6am, on a train in a carriage that smells like pee, jabbing at an iPad. Or maybe it’s at midday in a park on a laptop. The TRUTH is, career writers can actually write anywhere, under almost any circumstances and still produce work of roughly the same quality. The only reason you have to mix it up is because you’ve taught yourself shitty habits and to unlearn them, you’re going to have to do something different.

Secondly, choose a ‘plan’ or ‘method’ and stick with it. I highly recommend this one. It comes with its own template you can print and I like it because I wrote it. There isn’t a lot of room for buggering around and making excuses and it’s the method I use, so I know it works for me.

You can choose another one, but if it doesn’t work, then come back to my one and damn well stick with it until you’re finished.

Thirdly, you should try using the writing program, Write Or Die. It is a free online program. Alternatively you can buy the $10 desktop version, so you can turn off your internet while you write. It is the single most useful resource for a writer online, hands down. Better than WriterBeware. Better than Duotrope and AgentQuery.

I don’t see how anyone can use it and not reach their word target for the day.

So, once again:

1.      Do something different.
2.      Choose a plan and stick to it.
3.      Use Write or Die to meet your targets.

Annnnnd go!

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