Writing Tips

On Finishing What You Started

I have a problem. The first step is admitting it, right? My problem is finishing the novels I start.

This problem is especially prevalent when NaNoWriMo comes around. Since the goal is only to hit 50k, that’s what you’re aiming for and if your novel exceeds that number, finding the drive to keep going and actually finish is ten times harder than usual. This year, I reached 50k and that’s where I’ve been sitting for the last week. Is the novel finished? No. But I’ve lost that desire to go on.

So how do you finish those things? The problem, at least for me, is that I’m not invested in what I’m writing. Usually it’s a novel that I’m not really inspired by. That makes it so much harder to keep going. I know where it needs to go and how to get there, it’s just the getting there that’s the problem. There are a few things you can try when laziness and boredom gets the best of you.

Rewrite. You’ve hit 50k, so what’s stopping you now from going back and making the things you cringed at while writing better? Go delete a character or add in one you like more.

Skip to the end. Stuck in the middle of a long slog? Skip ahead and write out the ending. It might help make the middle clearer.

Write a summary ending. Sometimes it’s obvious you’re going to rewrite the whole thing anyway so why bother finishing? Get it “done” in your head and you can start over.

No one said writing was easy (except the people who don’t do it). You gotta do what you can to make it to the end sometimes, and sometimes you just gotta admit it’s done when you can’t.

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