Inspiration and ideas can strike writers at any time. They’re always lurking, those little moments in life that spark the plot for a novel or short story. And that spark is electric, it’s exciting, it pulls your pen to paper until you’re fizzing with the sheer need to tell that story.
However, although it’s hard, it does not do to abandon projects to write new ones. That’s not to say you can’t work on two at once, only you know if that’s something you can manage. Each writer is different, after all. This post is all about highlighting the reasons you must finish your works in progress, no matter how tough it gets.
1. It’s a great discipline
Being a writer requires a huge amount of self-motivation and discipline. The more you write, and the more you edit, the story becomes over familiar. The twists are no longer shocking, and the excitement is dulled. But you must persist, if only to get into the habit of persisting. Finish your story. Re-draft it. Edit it, and then edit it again. And try not to leave any project unfinished unless it is completely necessary.
2. You’ll learn more about the writing process
There’s so much more to writing than simply…well…writing! Editing is a huge learning curve, so is receiving feedback and crafting a synopsis. The tips you learn along the way for these additional stages will benefit you hugely as you go on to write new stories in the future. For me, I found writing my second novel a whole new experience, thanks to the lessons I learnt finishing the first one.
3. You’ll discover more about your story
Those early chapters are exciting, and often the easiest to write. The ideas are fresh and flowing…it’s when you get into the middle things can start to slow down. But unless you write that middle and until you write the end, you’ll never truly know your beginning. Stories take their own lead after a while, characters make choices you hadn’t originally considered. So the only way to really learn how your story should start, is to find out how your story ends.
4. If you’ve done it once, you can do it again
As I said above, with finishing being a good discipline, if you do it once you can do it again. Once you’ve pushed yourself through the finishing/editing cycle, you know you can take on the challenge with your future ideas too. It gives you a huge sense of achievement, and the drive to keep going.
5. Nobody will publish and unfinished story
Your end goal may not be to get published. But if it is, you need to finish. It doesn’t matter how original your idea, or how exciting those first chapters, agents and publishers want finished stories. They need to know that you can finish, otherwise there’s no point taking you on. And if you want to submit to competitions or magazines, then those stories will need to be complete as well.
How do you feel about the ‘finishing’ process? How did you feel the first time you felt you’d truly finished a project? Pop your thoughts in the comments below,
Keep writing (until you finish!)