Are you guilty of writing half way and then stopping?
Do you begin with a burst of adrenaline that takes you to the climax of the story and then you abandon the ending or the resolution?
Let me tell you, you’re not alone in falling off the mountain of projects, but I will say that it’s not a good feeling to have a bunch of half finished projects lying around. Ugh!
I want you to ask yourself…
What is a Writer?
If you look at a simple definition, a writer is one who “writes”. It may be someone who’s written a letter or recipe, or it could be an individual who has penned stories, poems, or books. While it seems simple enough it’s also rather complex when you try and define the actual work of a writer.
Is it someone who finishes their work and then shares? or is it simply the act of writing and scribbling out the ideas knocking around in the head.
The reason I ask is because if you’re only going half way with your writing and not finishing, perhaps you don’t yet identify as a writer. Hmmm….
So, challenge #1. No negotiation: I want you to stand in front of the mirror and say:
“Hello, my name is [insert name here] and I’m a writer”
Memorize it. Take it to heart. Breathe it. Be it.
Do this everyday. Put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror. Eat it for breakfast. Do it!
I Believe in You. Now It’s Your Turn.
Here’s the thing, if you wrote half a book and then pooped out, hey– that’s okay. Give yourself permission to take the break but if you went that far, I know you can finish!
Did you know t there are people who can’t even write two sentences together, let alone half a book? Yup, it’s true. Not everyone is a writer. So to go half way through a story and stop feels like a real cop out. Ask yourself what’s really happening.
Challenge #2 Make a list of what’s really holding you back.
I’ll give you some examples of possibilities but I want you to examine your own reasons.
- Not finishing the book means the book can’t fail
- By leaving it half finished no one can tell how crazy you are
- You’re bored silly with the story
- The story is morphing into some personal territory that makes you nervous or uncomfortable
- No one will want to read it anyway, so why bother?
- No one is interested in what I have to say.
- There are too many writers and books out there.
- Whoa is me…. You’re simply feeling sorry for yourself
- You tell yourself: I’m such a loser to believe anyone could be interested in this just because I am
- Someone has already written the same thing and you don’t think your work counts
Do any of those sound familiar?
Each of these statement are baloney. The reason is that we all have a unique gift and opportunity to share our creative side and none of us –not even one–are the same.
Your craft is your art, and your art needs to be shared with the world. It’s up to you to decide how to do that, but the first step will be to challenge each and every negative voice in your head that tells you you’re not worthy.
Go back to Challenge #1 and then read your list and challenge each of those “truths”. I would hedge a bet that those “truths” are really made up of insecurity, lack of direction, and a fear of success–or possible failure but really, if you finish–it’s a success.
Identify the Voice of Fear and Put it to Rest.
Isn’t fear hideous? It creeps in without our realizing it and can paralyze you in your tracks.
Take a deep breath and make a list of what scares you about writing, and specifically what scares you about finishing your current project. Here are a few things you’ll need to weed out of your writing…the sooner the better.
A. The need to be PERFECT! It’s not going to happen and it will do nothing but hold you back from finishing.
B. The fear of offending! Are you afraid that people will see the ‘real’ you if they read your book? Who cares? Do you? Sometimes writing can offend, but remember it can also inspire and allow others to see a truth through different eyes.
C. Get rid of the notion that writing is a competitive sport. It’s not. There is no competition. I can’t write what you write and you can’t write what I write.
Go back and read C. Commit it to memory. Write it out and stick it up on you computer. Always remember that no two writers are alike. That’s what makes the craft so wonderful and unique.
Go read it again.
D. You know, the nice thing about writing is that you never have to show anyone anything. Sometimes, a trusted outside source is best if you’re unsure, but if you can write half a book, there’s obviously something you have within you, and it needs to be completed.
E. Think of a book that has made a personal impact on you. What would’ve happened if the author stopped half way through and said, nah, no one will read it anyway. Give yourself a kick in the butt.
F. Only you can write your story. No one else…Go back and read C again.
G. Imposter Syndrome. This is a biggie. Many creatives believe that they’re a fraud and someone will find out. Now, this is a personal feeling toward their own work. It stems from the insecurity that they are not worthy of positive recognition. Know it for what it is and don’t let it gobble you up.
Fear is nothing more than the fight or flight adrenaline that pumps into your brain to make you want to flee or suppress. Fear is that feeling that to continue what you’re doing is dangerous, or will cause pain, or suffering. So when you think of fear like that…go back and read your list of fears and address them as fight or flight. See if that makes a difference.
Read the book: The War Of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield
This book is fantastic. It’s short and easy to read and is not genre specific and suitable for all.
Creative work is…a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”–Steven Pressfield: The War of Art.
He speaks of the Resistance we experience when we create and the need to overcome it. The book is very inspiring and a really good kick in the butt to get yourself going again.
Go read this book. I’m sure you can get it from the library–well worth a purchase too. I read it every time I start to question myself, my craft, my work.
Go Write… No Excuses… Get it Done.
What it comes down to is YOU.
I’d recommend you go back and read what you already have–chances are, it’s not as bad as you thought it was–and make a plan to finish. Set a GOAL and give yourself a TIMELINE. Don’t give up on yourself.
You’ll be glad you finished even if you choose not to do anything with it.
Now, go back and read this entire post. Know you’re not alone in your fears and doubts. Heck if writing were easy, everyone would do it, but it a gift and that’s why you need to finish.
Thanks for reading my post. I hope you enjoyed it. Please remember to like, share, comment, and follow. Always appreciated.