How many times have you started a writing project, but never finished it? And you always have a great reason (aka: excuse) for why–it was too hard, it wasn’t working, you’re no longer interested, you don’t have time, etc.
But here’s the thing: at some point you have to finish something.
‘Cause if you never finish, you’ll never be successful. Not ever.
Successful people finish what they start.
So let’s talk about what’s really causing you not to finish things: Fear and Resistance.
- Negative voices
- Limiting thoughts
- False beliefs you think are true
Here’s how fear often shows up:
- Telling yourself things, like “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough”
- Believing things like, “this isn’t meant for me” or “it’s too late”
- Having thoughts, like “the world doesn’t need another novel” or “why would anyone read my book?”
This fear gets in the way of you finishing your writing project(s).
Resistance is basically your comfort zone trying to stop you from doing something “threatening,” like publishing your novel.
Here’s how Resistance often shows up:
- You spend months working on a novel, and then suddenly another story idea pops up that seems “so much better” and so you chase that idea instead of finishing the one you were already working on
- You know you need to work on your writing, but instead you decide to wash the dishes, clean your house, and catch up on those emails that were unimportant until right now when you were gonna write
- You have a drawer (or computer file) of unfinished novels, short stories, etc.
I’ve had seven years of fear and Resistance; of finishing, but not really finishing (I wrote and started to revise a novel, but never published it).
And even now as I’m putting the edits in place and doing the final-final polish on my debut novel, I’m freaking out, I’m afraid, I’m questioning everything!
But I’m pressing forward anyhow. Because I’m ready to get in the fiction game. I’m ready for my stories to live out in the world instead of in my head.
People can judge me all they want, but I refuse to hide any longer. And you shouldn’t either.
Now I’m not saying that you should just write something and throw it out there. Not at all.
The opposite, really.
I think you should spend time finding your story. Getting to know it. Asking it questions. Playing with scenarios and “what ifs.”
And once you know everything there is to know about your story–or at least ’til you have a cohesive story that works from beginning to end–then you sit down and write your heart out.
When you’re done, revise it until every plot hole is filled and everything that shows up in your story is set up, foreshadowed and flows together.
Then hire an editor and get it in front of some Beta Readers. Make the edits and give the story a final-final polish.
Then let it go and release it.
There has to come a point with every creative project when you call it done and call it good enough. There has to come a time when you say, “this is my best work to date and I know I will do even better next time.”
This isn’t the last book I’m gonna write, and I know it’s not your last one either.
So that’s why you have to finish what you start. Because at the end of the day, all of your stories and writing talent won’t do you any good if you don’t launch.
That’s the realization I came to recently as I’ve been finishing up this novel. (Pressfield talks about this in the War of Art, as well.)
So I set a date: June 16.
And on that day, I will publish my debut novel. I’m releasing it and setting it free, out into the world, to be loved, critiqued, judged, hated and adored.
I know this is what I’m meant for, and I’m not gonna deny it any longer.
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Finish Line image courtesy of Sean MacEntee