Welcome to Writerly Witterings for November, the blog I write each month to inspire, motivate and support your writing.
As the nights draw in and the year draws to a close, my focus this month is on endings.
It is widely reported that a whopping 97% of writing projects remain unfinished - languishing on hard drives and in drawers. That’s 97% of potential stories, autobiographies, novels and poems that could be out there, being enjoyed by readers.
All that is probably required to complete them is some fresh energy and enthusiasm, coupled with the desire for completion, and some left-side analytical brain power for editing.
Below are 6 reasons why wonderful pieces of writing never get completed.
- The initial excitement wears off That first flush of enthusiasm towards a new writing endeavour can wane once realisation creeps in about the effort and commitment that will be continually needed.
- Self doubt There is no writer who hasn’t thought at some point whilst they are writing, this is rubbish, who’ll want to read this!
- Time lapse Perhaps you get busy with life. One day leads to another, then another. Before you know it, it’s been days since you touched your work in progress. Then weeks. The longer you are away from it, the more likely you will be to lose touch with your characters, your story, your settings, and the emotions behind what you’re working on.
- Trying to Edit whilst still Creating Don’t. Do. It. Ever. Creation uses the creative part of your brain. Editing uses the analytical part. One process cancels the other out. Can you imagine a hairdresser trying to style and finish your hair whilst they’re still actually cutting it?
- Loss of Direction This is more likely to happen when you spend time away from your writing. You either forget where your piece is going, or you didn’t know in the first place.
- Reluctance to Edit. Lots of writers don’t enjoy editing. They see it as uncreative, a chore, or even worse, not necessary!
Writing is like any meaningful relationship. You must give it your regular and consistent time and attention. It needs nurturing and sometimes needs a big push to get through the tougher times.
Now would be a really good time for you to look through folders, notebooks and on your computer with a view to dusting off all the wonderful pieces of work, big and small, you have started, but never completed. Make a list of unfinished projects and then number them in order of importance.
- Stay Excited Do whatever you can to recapture that initial excitement! Visualise the end product, talk about what you are doing to family and friends and keep remembering the reasons why you began.
- Believe in Yourself Always remember that your writing voice and your stories and experiences are unique and deserve their place in the world. No one can write your words apart from you. Watch this video to increase your confidence as a writer.
- Reconnect with your work re-read your work with fresh eyes. Make notes as you go. Give yourself some space to think about your work and allow it to come back to life.
- Only ever edit AFTER your first draft Don’t be tempted to do ANY editing of your work until you have reached the end of draft one. Instead, cultivate an excitement within yourself about re-reading and editing once you’ve typed ‘the end.’
- Have a plan You wouldn’t embark on a long journey with no idea of your direction. Have a rough idea of the direction your writing project will contain. In your plan, include things like visualisations, plot points, phrases, words, and the ending. Here’s a video that will help with your planning processes.
- Edit My writing goes through eight drafts before I consider it polished enough to share it with readers. Your work is special and deserves your full attention before you move on. Check spelling, grammar and punctuation. Read it aloud to check it flows. Make sure your writing is alive, interesting and consistent. The first draft is you telling the story or poem to yourself. The editing process is when you consider your audience.
The above attention to your unfinished pieces of writing will ensure that you can enter 2022 with a renewed writing energy, ready to undertake a brand new writing project.
Ten Day Mini Writing Course
The theme of my free offering on YouTube this month is also ‘endings.’
Click below for day one of ‘Write to the End,’ the first of 10 videos that offer a daily endings-related writing prompt and information about the Facebook group where you can share and celebrate your responses.
For one week (15-21 November) you can download ‘Write a Novel in a Year’ for just 0.99 (UK & US.). This offer applies to the eBook only.
Write a Novel in a Year is also available in paperback and hardback with a separately available companion workbook.
Treat Yourself for Christmas
Are you dreaming of writing a novel or your life story? Or would you like to write and present a collection of poetry or short stories.
To take your writing to the next level, look no further than my year-long online writing courses and for a limited time, I’m giving away a free writer goodie bag to everyone who joins. Click here for more information.
For each course, a free first session can be downloaded from the relevant course page.
Thanks for your interest in November’s Writerly Witterings. I’ll be back on the 8th of next month with more! This post is also available as a video on YouTube.
Enjoy the rest of your writing month.
With best wishes,
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