I'm always going on about writing novels, finishing novels, and dallying with short stories. I've made writing, completely finishing a novel, including revisions, a priority, and my wife respects and accepts that. I think I'm doing pretty good.
Improvements are always sought, though, and one of my writing buddies, Beckie, sent our group a list from Terribleminds.com, "25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing", written by Chuck Wendig. Yes, it's a list, as expected at the end of the year. List making is a tradition when we tack up a new calendar or change the year.
I think this is a good list of reminders. The first one, "Stop Running Away", gobsmacked me. The essence is, you want to write the novel, why are you writing other things? And I thought, yep, I do that, I negotiate with myself and beg, let me dabble in a short story.
Everyone who has tried or thought about running marathons or watched television or movies about marathoners knows about "The Wall", that point where the runner hits a point and says, no more. Walls are not limited to marathons. Many people in prolonged challenging situations, like combat, football games, massive business projects, bad relationships, know about "The Wall". It's that point when the need to surrender rises.
Same thing can happen with a novel. This is my imagination at play, my thinking, because I've finished novel drafts but never went all the way, so I haven't experienced it. I know suspect that wall is there. Think it's been tough to that point? What until the wall falls on you.
That's one reason not to finish. Another is that if you don't finish, you're always full of potential, and you've never failed to meet it. Nobody can judge you if you don't ever finish anything. It's another wall. Like someone said about talking, "Better to stay quiet and let people think you're stupid rather than opening your mouth and removing all doubt." It may have been Mark Twain, Will Rogers or Winston Churchill. It sounds like something any of them could have said. The writing corrollary is, "Better not to finish writing a novel and let people think you have promise rather than finishing it and removing all doubt."
That ties in with number 4 on the list, "Stop Worrying". Without acknowledging it, by not finishing a novel, you're caving to worry, letting gremlins of what ifs stop you from making a fool of yourself by revealing to the world just how much you suck.
Many will protest, "No, I'm just too busy." "I'm not disciplined." "I have too many things going on." Mr Wendig covers all of this in 10, 11, 12, 14, and 25.
As I say, I like his list. Fits in with my love of continuous improvement, small steps and perserverance. So, with the reluctance of a lover leaving the bed, I'll stop working on short stories until this novel is done, and I'll quit trying to rush it and continue trying to finish it. In a sense though, I think I hit a wall a few weeks ago as I coped with holidays and life and carved time to write. I've regained my stride. I'm pushing on.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com