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Do you finish everything you start?

My half a million WIPS say no :P

Okay, in all seriousness, the answer is yes, if we’re talking projects I’ve truly started. However, projects tend to fall into one of three categories:

1) The I-started-but-can’t-figure-out-what-to-do-with-it

This is the category of stories where I’ve jotted a beginning, maybe even got a few pages in, or, in one horrible rare case, I’d gotten chapters in, and realized I have no idea what’s going on. Or I realize that the story is fundamentally broken. Or I realize that the character makes no sense. Mostly though I realize that I was just writing to write and that there isn’t really a story here.

These ones feel more like writing exercises. I’m stretching my brain, I’m doing a little character creation or description or jotting down part of a dream I had. I like doing this sometimes with dialogue between two characters because of the fun it is to play people off one another.

A lot of these get lost amidst the world of notebooks. But often enough, some of these jotted creations will find new life later when I’m flipping through old notebooks and see something that gets my gears going.

2) The I-started-and-immediately-finished

These are the ones I wish happened every time.

This is a focus situation. At least for me. You see, when I’m beginning something is when I have the highest level of motivation to work on it. Doesn’t matter the project. [Some people have increased motivation toward the end of a project, but this is not me, unfortunately. I just keep getting slower and slower the further form the beginning I reach.] This means that if I knuckle down and spend all my time, all my attention, all my mental faculties on that project, then it gets completed in an incredibly quick manner.

This is easiest with short stories, given their length. And can work with novels as well.

However, the moment things get interrupted, the moment I lose my mojo, progress can grind achingly slow. This leads me to…

3) The I-started-and-will-eventually-finish

These ones are the ones I started and for whatever reason couldn’t keep working on. Maybe I realized I had a different deadline coming up and needed to prioritize. Maybe I got sick. Maybe an editor emailed me edits and I had to put current writing on hold. Maybe a huge life event happened: the birth of a kid, moving, death in the family. Maybe a bunch of small things happened so often that my brain stopped remembering what I was doing. Maybe COVID kicked us all in the butts. Who knows!

Whatever it was, I was interrupted somehow in some way and these stories slooooow down. Some of that slowness is due to working on other projects. Some of it has to do with only getting a minor amount of words down on that one project.

Usually, I can refind my mojo after jumping headfirst back into a project, but that doesn’t happen immediately and if I keep getting interrupted, then it makes the process take even longer.

Yet, the stories always end up done. One word at a time. One sentence at a time. I get them on paper until I can cross off the last scene (which is rarely ever the actual last scene in the novel XD)