Today, I’m going to share the six reasons I’m using to finish a story that’s been hanging around this last month with no movement whatsoever. The reasons are fairly particular to this story, but after I wrote them down I thought they might be helpful to others.
About the Story
The first thing you should know is that I’ve been writing this story for about 13 or 14 years. You’d think I’d know exactly, but the oldest notes have no dates and so I have to go with a few calendar events that match up…
Wait, is this trip down memory lane really necessary?
1. The reader isn’t going to have any idea I spent just under 1/3 of my life working on this story.
Ever think of writing in those terms? Don’t. It’s depressing.
Don’t worry about how long it’s taken you to get this far. Focus on getting to the end.
2. This story dies if it doesn’t get finished.
A story that lies in a drawer is a dead story. No one hears the tale. No one falls in love with the characters or your description of some farm in the middle of nowhere. The story dies.
3. I have other stories to write.
The problem with quitting on a story is that it keeps coming back to haunt you. It’s like the fish that got away, except it’s sitting the aforementioned drawer and stinking up your studio. I need to get rid of this story and the only way to do that is to finish it.
4. I’m no longer afraid of this story.
When I first came across the nugget for this story, I was deathly afraid of it. I didn’t think I was worthy to write it. I wasn’t ready. That’s all garbage writers tell themselves because they read someone’s opinion of the “right time” to read Henry James.
There’s hardly a right time to write the story you have in your hand. Don’t be afraid of the story, especially if you have something powerful. Rest easy knowing that even the best writers screw up the most fantastic ideas- that’s what writing is all about.
5. Someone will publish this story.
Forget about all the reasons no one will want the story. I won’t even list them, not even if you beg. The fact is that someone will publish this story. Even if I have to send it out a hundred times. Someone will publish it.
6. I believe in this story.
The only reason I keep working on this story is that I believe in the underlying ideas and I love the characters. Over the years, this story has changed from a rural melodrama to a gothic romance to a murder mystery to a science fiction story. And yet, the core message has remained the same (along with a view juicy bits I love).
I believe in the story and so it must be written.
So, what are the reasons you’re going to use to finish your story?
4 thoughts on “Six Reasons to Finish My Story”
Wow, this really sounds a lot like me with my first big idea, except for the fact that the thirteen and a half years I’ve been working on it is almost exactly half my life.
Other than the reasons you listed, I’m going to say it’s time to finish it because it’s the kind of thing the market is looking for about now. With the sense of uncertainty election years in general can bring, especially ones when there is major conflict whether domestic or foreign, and when times are tough, people look to books and movies for an escape from everyday life. Even though I touch on specific topics and have things I want to say, my story is a work of fantasy and/or sci-fi depending on how you look at it, so it’s also escapist. If I’m ever going to finish it, why not now?
Besides, the thing has created somewhat of a mental dam, blocking all but drips and drabs of other ideas. It must be purged from the system.
@TL I like those additional reasons. By the way, this post made me work hard on the story this morning. The work really flowed. Could be the break I suppose, but I think the forceful application of self-pressure is doing its thing. 🙂
Because I love this story. I love the characters. And I think others will love them, too.
Oh yes – and because I will *never* get an agent or a book contract or fame and fortune (ok, I really don’t want the last two…maybe a few dollars, though) if I *don’t* get the book done.