I am a chronic starter: books, web sites, plot lines, learning other languages, new relationships, golden ideas that will flourish into financial, spiritual, emotional, and sexual success!
The grim reality: What’s the use of a thousand first pages gushing in rich, inspiring material, when there is absolutely no follow-through? Oh, right. There’s a market for that: Flash Fiction. (I’m kidding! I’m kidding! Besides, it doesn’t even pay!)
Damn the internet, damn TV, damn the man for the millionth time–still, there is no excuse. As artists, if we expect to produce something more worthwhile than an elaborate, dazzling idea, we must be like pregnant mothers and DELIVER!
Like the idea of “starting small,” one can also finish small. Menial tasks, such as putting ALL the laundry away (even mismatched socks at the bottom of the bin!), is a good example. You’ll notice it doesn’t take much time or effort or mind power. Now translate that into writing: before you start working on yet another poem or short story or novel, go back to a first draft of something already completed, bust out that red pen, and edit! In my experience, editing takes far less time than the initial writing, and it’ll remind you how magnificent it feels to–say it together now– finish.
Setting goals is vital in this business. That could mean writing 1,000 words a day or translate into something more specific, like writing out the backstory for your main character’s sister just to have a clearer idea of what she’d say in conversation. Either way, when starting projects, there should also be a realistic estimated due date. WRITE THIS DATE DOWN, OR YOU WILL FORGET!
You’ll soon discover, there are exorbitant benefits to being a finisher. You can review the books you’ve actually read all the way through and post it on your professional-looking web site, perhaps even translating it into the foreign language you’ve mastered, which might reel in a partner you can stand for more than two months, because your wallet is fat enough to travel to faraway places, where you can hole up for days, mapping out plotlines for your next novel, finishing all kinds of things…. Like Miracle Jones said, in the story he read for our Literary Extravaganza, “Don’t ever walk away from a bed of sex unless your partner has also climaxed. Stay there for days if you must.”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put away my laundry.