Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to be a Finisher

There are three steps to being a “finisher.”

1. Start something.
2. Work on it.
3. Finish it.

Despite having all of the answers, I still fall victim to the Lethargarians sometimes (those gooey guys who live in the Doldrums- The Phantom Tollbooth is a fantastic story).

Take, for example, the last 26 months with my novel. Wow, writing that looks awful. 26. Twenty-six. 20 six! Twenty6?! Tw-one-tee-six.,, Goodness, that’s a long time. It really is time to finish it.

Remember my goal to read a YA novel each week and write a review? I blasted through the first two, and then… I’ve started four separate books, and I haven’t finished one of them. (I’m not going to name names, because if we’re being honest the problem isn’t all me. I’m amazed at some of the stuff that’s gotten published. I have a renewed hope for the future.)
The laundry from my vacation has still not made its way back into the closet.

The list could go on.

So, what about you guys? Does anyone have any great tips or tricks for staying focused? Or maybe a procrastination story you’d like to share?

You know, at least I have this blog. I think it’s really helping me to get words down on “paper” and to work on my


  1. I don't even want to start running the numbers. That's a whole new level of of depressing. I've started and not finished several manuscripts over the last 2-3 years. Solidarity fist bump.

  2. Oh and as for the things that get published... Amen. Let's start a revolution.

  3. 26 months on a novel is nothing. I've been working on one on and off since 2001. And if after 26 months you're still working on the same novel, you're good. If you've written beginnings for fifty, then maybe we have a problem.

    I'm a huge procrastinator. I wait to the last minute to do everything. In January I agreed to enter a contest with a friend. It wasn't due until July. Who was up all night the weekend before the deadline, starting from scratch on something NEW because nothing she had was GOOD ENOUGH? Yeah. Me.

    It's really hard for me to keep a daily writing routine on the same project. What works for me is working on several projects at a time--usually 4 or 5. Chances are, if I'm stuck on one, I'm not stuck on another.

    My last resort, though, is to always move forward. Even if all you can do is a sentence, do it. Every day.

  4. If you're constantly working at something and it's just taking a long time to finish then that's different to avoiding something or starting something new so you don't have to finish it. For the latter there's usually a reason why you're not working on it. Maybe ask yourself why and free write for ten minutes or something and see what answers you get. Be honest with yourself. Once you know what's blocking you, usually fear of something, you can face it and push forward. I can't say that pushing forward is any easier then but at least you know why.

  5. Wow! Thanks all. Not only for the useful tips, but also for making me feel way better about how long this is taking me.

    Lately, I've been hearing about authors who spat out their book in 6 months and then got published the next year. It's nice to know that's not the norm.

    Emily- fist bump back!

    Liz- I'm loving the multiple projects idea. Maybe with my NaNo idea, I'll be able to do something like that. Though, having two stories going at the same time might make my head pop (or cause sporadic amnesia!).

    Kerryn- Welcome back! I hope you had a great vacation. There's definitely been a bit of avoidance on my part, and feeling a bit like I've taken an aweome idea and butchered it to death. Ugh, it's so much easier to be honest with other people.