The problem with finishing.

So as I announced in this post, Echoes has been finished and submitted to eFiction.

This brings to light one of my biggest problems: what to start working on after I finish.

If you’re like me and have any sort of a creative streak, you’ll likely suffer this problem. You finish one story, only for three more to crop up, each seemingly as compelling as the others. There seems to be an infinite number of possibilities for you to choose from, so now you get to pick one.

The only problem is, how do you pick one to work on?

I recently shared a few brief words with Matt Forbeck over on twitter, where I asked him how he handled selecting new works. This was as a result of seeing him mention that he wrote six thousand words yesterday.

Keep in mind, this is also the same Matt Forbeck that has been undertaking the 12 for ’12 project (writing 12 novels for 2012), and has been working with other material on the side. What follows below is his reply.

Matt: “It’s not a race. Honestly, don’t ever feel bad about getting something done. There’s always someone faster. Done is what counts. I try to come up with things I think are both cool and will sell. And remember there’s always the next time too. Getting done matters. It’s one reason I write fast, so I can get on to the next thing too.”

Now I will admit, I can’t compete with Matt’s six thousand words per day ratio.

That said, he’s right in that if you never complete your work, you’ll never get further or remove that idea from your head. It’s not a race to see who can pen X amount of words per day on average, but it’s simply a matter of finishing what you’re working on.

Given time to think on those words, it’s made me question my stance on The Veil. Am I confident that people will want to read it? Not entirely. Do I want to get it done? One way or another, yes.

Now what do I mean by one way or another? The Veil has become something of a source of frustration for me.

It started as a single story, then possibly bloomed to a trilogy, then needed to be rewritten, then could be trimmed down to a two-parter. All while doing this, it’s sitting as a WIP file in Scrivener. Soon enough, I’m either going to want to just pound the thing out and get it over with, or abandon it entirely.

As you can see, it’s a mess. Now add the fact that while I’m flip-flopping on what to do with The Veil, other ideas are popping up and demanding attention. It’s enough to give any sane man a migraine, I believe.

Of course, when I spell it all out like this, it seems to be obvious that part of The Veil’s problems stem from thinking too much about it. Not just thinking too much on it, but also not advancing it enough at the same time.

No real progress + over thinking = mess.

So there you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen. Some words to definitely work by, offered by Mr. Matt Forbeck. Now it’s time for me to sit down, strap in, and put them to good use.

2 thoughts on “The problem with finishing.

  1. I have had almost this exact problem. I ended up abandoning my initial project, which had bloated to proportions too large for me to handle, and go for something shorter. Expanding stories infinitely can often be a sign of avoidance — at least that’s been my experience.

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    • Glad to hear I’m not the only one. I think that’s part of the reason I’ve been working on short stories; they’re easier to keep simple and focus on. With that, I think it’s time to take a chainsaw and cut off all the unnecessary baggage with my manuscript, work more on the immediate work, rather than the long term.

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