Setting out with the best of intentions, all of us have had projects and ideas that simply never see it past the start line. Whether it's that flooring project that never got finished or reorganizing your office, many of us know the feeling of something being incomplete.
Even crosswalks understand this.
This picture was taken about a week ago near my house. This road has recently been repaved, and since this photograph was snapped the speed hump just behind the crosswalk has been replaced. (You can just see the outline that was carved to mark where the hump should go.) However, the crosswalk still looks like this. Many of us had hoped that it would have been fixed before school started, but that turned out to be wishful thinking. Weeks later, and a number of phone calls to the county from multiple people, we still have 1/3 of a crosswalk behind the elementary school. I still want to know who made the call on the road crew to say, "You know, I think we can just leave it like that for now. Not a problem."
When it comes to finishing something, our goals are all different. Some want to run a marathon. Others want to climb Everest. I'm sure someone out there has thought about running a marathon on Mt. Everest. There are folks out there who simply want to work towards a 5k, and that's absolutely okay as well. We all have something we want to accomplish.
For many people, they dream of one day writing a book.
If this is you, listen to me. You are not alone. Every author out there, and I do mean every one, was there once. All of us were out there dreaming to one day start writing that story. If you have jotted down notes or even a few pages, congratulate yourself. You're further along than some. People tell me all the time that they have ideas in their head that they think would make a wonderful story, they just don't know how to start. I always tell them the same thing- write SOMETHING down. Anything. Words, phrases, glimpses of dialogue. More will come once you start.
However, once you start and are done congratulating yourself, I also want to encourage you to finish it.
Yes, I know that's daunting and scary and overwhelming, but you can do it. You really can.
I'm sure many of you have snippets of the beginnings of a story, some notes jotted down from the middle, and maybe a vague idea of how you think it should end. PERFECT! You really do have something to work with, and I'll tell you- that style of writing is exactly how my novels are formed. I like to think of it as scenes in a movie, and just how many movie scenes are shot out of order, I write complete out of order as well. In your efforts to finish, I suggest breaking it down. Write a scene. Just one scene. When you're ready, write another one. Before long, you will realize you've collected twenty of them and it's beginning to look like an actually story.
DON'T STOP THERE!
Slice and dice those scenes into chronological order (at least the order you want them to appear in the book), and then print the whole thing out. Seriously- don't look at it on a screen. You need to hold it in your hand and see what it actually looks like on paper, because it will be completely different sometimes. Then slap that big boy in a three ring binder and read it. Guess what? It's going to suck. That's okay, and don't let it stop you. Take that pretty red pen and make it better. Along the way, you may notice that scenes are missing. Go back and write them, then insert them where they belong.
Go back and make all your edits. Print again. Read again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Finish. That. Story.
You can do this. Finish that book you have always wanted to write. If you need encouragement, I am here. You can contact me and I am happy to hear from you. No one manages this page but me, and I WILL respond to you. If you prefer, find an author near you for guidance. Sure, some of us are really obnoxious, but a lot of us are more than happy to encourage another writer. Again, we've all been there.
Finish what you started. I know you can do it.
You can always find me on Facebook and Twitter, and even on Instagram when I get bored. I love to hear from you!