Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guest Blogger: Jessica Foster on Finishing What You Start

Today I'm joined by Jessica Foster, a very talented fledgling writer who is destined for greatness. I met her several years ago at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference and was immediately impressed by her enthusiasm and zest for life. She continues to inspire me today. I have also blogged for her today, and you can read it here. Take it away, Jessica!

Finishing What You Start

As a writer, there is no greater feeling than a shiny new story idea. There is a thrill in the moment when the characters come alive and the plot pieces puzzle together. As the story progresses, however, the excitement sometimes wanes. What begins as zipping through a draft like a fish swimming through water quickly becomes the same fish, slogging through mud.

One of the first lessons I learned in writing was not to give up.

An unfinished novel will sit for years in your sock drawer or on your hard-drive.

Unfinished novels don't get read.

Finish it.

It doesn't matter if you're tired of the plot or hate the characters.

Just finish it.

This is essential for first novels. Writing to the end of that very first book can be harrowing and nearly impossible. It is too easy to develop the habit of jumping ship when the writing becomes muddy. In my earlier years as a writer (fourth grade, sneaking a notebook under my desk during math tests or history lessons). I left a string of unfinished stories. I'd start one and think it was the greatest idea ever . . . until a hit a snag in the plot or with a character. I'd abandon it for my next new idea hit. I never wrote more than a few chapters for each story.

A time will come when you dislike your book. Characters become obnoxious. You will fall into impossible plot holes. There will be days when you'll look at your story and wonder why you thought it was a good idea. It has happened with every book I've ever written. I reach a point where I want to give up.

Just finish it.

Sometimes, you'll get to the end and find that it really isn't great. Learn from it. Other times, more often than not, you'll discover the story wasn't as bad as you thought. The only way to know is to finish it.


Stephanie said...

Oh, my word, so true! I'm there right now. Just a few little holes left in my story & it'll be done, but I've kinda gotten sidetracked by other ideas.... okay, there's no kinda about it: I AM TOTALLY SIDETRACKED!

Thanks for the motivation to get me back on track! :)

JoLyn Brown said...

Jessica, great post. I think finishing is one thing I still struggle with. Your positive attitude about writing has always been inspirational to me.

RaShelle Workman said...

Fantastic post!

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

For someone comfortable with quitting, like me, this is great advice.

Angie said...

Yep. It takes dedication and believing in yourself too. I find finishing such a satisfying feeling!

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I'm trying to do now, push through everything and get to the end of a manuscript. Whatever it takes!

Grant said...

Finish it. Two words. So simple. So true. I will. Finish it.

Jade Hart said...

I totally agree and glad I found this post. Today I'm in a rut with my current WIP. I loved my story but have just hit the over half way mark and I feel completely stuck.
I love your mantra: Just finish it! lol.

I'll keep slogging :)

I'm a new follower so look forward to your future posts :)

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