There is so much involved in a published essay, poem, story, or book: reading, writing, editing, rewriting, thinking, rethinking, critiquing, submission, rejection, acceptance. How to get any of it done while maintaining a fulltime job, marriage, family, friends, house, exercise, pets, cars, gardens, shoveling? You know…life. It’s tough to keep it all in balance. For example, I stole a moment to write a draft of this post on my phone while I waited for someone who was running late.
For me, one of the hardest aspects of writing is finishing. I’m not scared to submit or even be rejected. It’s having an actual polished product that I struggle with. To know when I’ve managed to tell the reader my story in an effective way. I have lots of new ideas filling up notebooks, files in my computer, and scraps of paper, all waiting to come to life, but I need to finish what I’ve already started. I suppose that’s what happens with 20 years of pent up words in your brain.
One of my focuses/goals, or what have you, for 2020 is to finish. There are so many pieces sitting on my laptop, wanting some attention. I plan to complete and submit at least one already in-progress piece per month. Along with that, I’m continuing to work on the novel I started. There’s a ton of research (hint hint I need to go to Ireland), plotting, writing, rewriting, etc. ahead for that one. To start the year, I’ve already completed one essay and submitted it, and am working on two other pieces.
In the past week, some friends have had work published that they are wicked proud of, and they should be. One was posting about the journey it took to complete her story in a publishable form. She mentioned the workshops, classes, and groups she worked with. It helps to know that other writers, whom I admire and respect, also seek help/support in finishing.
Someday I hope to be a little faster, a little tighter, and more organized as a writer. I’m trying. I even bought a planner to keep track of submission dates, to plot out what I’m going to work on next, and to create a focus for myself. I’m also always on the lookout for ideas, listening to what other people have tried, and feedback they give. If you have any, I’d love to hear them. The most useful trick for me seems to be chipping away on an almost daily basis. Like so many things, the simple boring answer is the effective one. Do the work. Well, fingers crossed in 2020 for getting more pieces off the laptop and out in the world so they can take on a life of their own.