Finish the Shit You Start

Warning in advance: if you couldn’t tell from the title, this post is going to be very sweary, but rather brief pep talk. If you aren’t into that sort of thing, feel free to keep on scrolling. I don’t blame you. Especially if you’re my mother. In which case: Look, Ma! No filter!

There is only one real cardinal sin in being a writer. And it’s quitting in the middle of a project. You started it for a damn good reason, and for fuck’s sake, there’s a reason you have to finish it. Even if that reason is just the fact that you started it and you’re too stubborn to admit defeat like yours truly. I really don’t give a damn what your reason to quit is. Your reason to finish it is more important. Because you are a fucking writer, aren’t you? You did set out to sit in a room by yourself and create something from nothing over and over again until you die, right? Then you certainly can’t quite now. Your imaginary friends are going to be pissed.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I have it all figured out and that I’m perfect about finishing everything that I start. But hell, I try. I currently have five partial novels on my hands. And more importantly, they’re on my mind. They sort of consume your head until you do finish them. And then at least for a while, you can put them to bed. That in itself is a good reason to want to finish projects. Mine are in varying stages of completion. One at just shy of 90k, two around 50k, and another two around 15k. It doesn’t even really count as a project until you’re 30k in, does it? Anyway. I don’t have to tell you how it feels to not finish a project. Or the sense of pride when you do finish it. Even if the first draft truly is shit. It’s a first draft. It’s all but legally required to be a pile of shit.

Writing is going to give you a million reasons to quit a project. It’s hard. It isn’t working right. It’s going too slowly. It isn’t as good as you wanted it to be. You’re busy with other things. You’re depressed. You’re ill. Let me be the first to tell you that not a damn one of these things is a bad reason to quit. And if you can stand to, then maybe you ought to. Writing isn’t easy, by any means. But if you’re doing it for the right reasons, quitting’s harder. Even if your project isn’t good. Even if you know it isn’t going to be published, finish it. Muscle through. For me. For yourself. For fuck’s sake. Just do it. You’ll feel better if you do. Because just because your previously unfinished project seems like it’s nothing but a pile of crap, that doesn’t mean you’re a human pile of crap. And if that’s not comforting, I don’t know what is.


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