Finish what you started…

I have found myself working against my natural rhythms of late. I know I am a morning person – not by choice, might I add – but I am more productive before lunch simply because I suffer from the post-food slump and drop in blood sugar that makes me want to nap in the afternoons. 


Complete and Finish, me?
Not so much…

I know what I have to do on my novel. I’m aware that there are rewrites to be done. I’ve conquered the fear of that impending sense of terror that accompanies acknowledging my story needs work. But now I have to face the possibility that I might have a completed manuscript once I’ve tackled these areas, and then suddenly – I’ll have to work on something else. I’ll have to start the process over. 

So you see, once I dig a little deeper, it isn’t just that I’m messing with my natural rhythms and routine. It’s that I’m afraid of finishing. I am very good at starting things. I am miserable at completing them. 

Ask any writer how many unfinished stories they have and, no matter how many stories or novels they have published, I bet they have more abandoned projects and not-quite-ready manuscripts hidden somewhere. [Except maybe Barbara Cartland…she can’t possibly have written any more, can she?!]

I suspect that a lot of writers are secretly terrible completer-finishers, despite having what might be the classic symptoms that go with this Belbin type:

“COMPLETER FINISHERS worry about what might go wrong. They are never at ease until they, personally, have checked every detail and made sure that everything has been done and nothing overlooked.”

Taken from

Now, doesn’t that sound familiar…that feeling of panic about a submission just before a deadline, that something might not be spelt correctly, that a comma is in the wrong place?

And yet, completer-finishers excel at meeting deadlines and providing quality work. Surely, a clear characteristic of a published author?

Yes, well. I am not a completer-finisher. I’ve had the test to determine my Belbin role and I came out as an ‘Implementer‘ and a ‘Resource Investigator

“IMPLEMENTERS are the practical organisers. They are the ones who turn decisions and strategies into defined and manageable tasks which people can actually get on with. They favour hard work and tackle problems in a systematic way. 
RESOURCE INVESTIGATORS are the team members who go out of the group and bring ideas, information and developments back to it. Without the stimulus of others, for example in solitary jobs, they can become easily bored, demoralised and ineffective.”

Taken from

Information which highlights why it is you read so much about how I structure my approach to writing, and why it is I need a community such as blogging to be able to produce any results. 

But I know nothing of finishing. I will always find something to criticise and I will constantly argue that I can do better. Hence, possibly why I am avoiding returning to my novel in order to ‘fix’ what I know is wrong with; because there will always be something wrong with it. This is the element I have in common with that completer-finisher, who, in reality, would probably never get anything submitted if it weren’t for those pesky deadlines.

In short, I suppose what I am trying to demonstrate is that I have a fear of finishing the novel because it means I will have to start writing, or editing, another one. Thus begins the endless, cyclical joy of being an actual writer who deigns to be published. In order to continue to be published, you have to keep producing the quality goods – which means constantly writing and re-writing and editing. And with that comes all the lessons I’ve learnt along the way so far, knowing that I should be able to do it ‘better’ the second time around.

The good news is, I think, that I’m not put off by the thought of doing it all over again. Sure, it’s overwhelming and difficult and a looooong process, but it’s fun and interesting and makes me energised. I just need to stop putting it off and focus on it.
[I also need to have a little more freedom and fun, but more about that in another post].

So. Mornings it is. I will get up, have breakfast, walk the dog and then…to work! If you catch me on Twitter or Facebook or blogging in the morning before you’ve seen evidence of me writing you have my full permission to call me on it and slap my wrists. 


7 responses to “Finish what you started…

  1. I’ve hit this point now. I’ve done 4 drafts, shown others, had feedback… and now THIS is the final draft before a professional sees it. The final run through before I begin making connections with agents and think about pitching it.
    And suddenly, I’m frozen to the spot.

    I took today off work to chill out and gently ease myself back into editing. I’d aimed to finish draft five by the end of august, but I’ve only done 3/20 chapters. I’ve pushed it to “mid-september” but I think even that’s unrealistic.

    It’s 12:20 and I’ve been awake 4 hours – and all I’ve done is open the word document. -sigh- So I guess, I better finish this comment and get to it.

    • Ah, the reassuring community of writers I have come to rely on! I’m glad I have company…makes it that much easier to bear. 🙂
      Thanks for reading. Good luck with finishing one of the projects already started. x

    • Thanks, will try! Not going according to plan as yet tho, thanks to a murky cold.
      Wish you all the best in finishing some of your projects! Thanks for commenting (and Retweeting!)

      • Sorry to hear you’re under the weather. Get well soon. Thanks, I’m sure I will finish one of them eventually. You’re welcome, anything I can do to help out a fellow writer. Write on!

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