Monday, October 31, 2011

Finish Everything

I recently had the opportunity to attend Wordstock.  What a great event!
Part of this festival is getting the chance to listen to authors lecture and Q&A.
*Yes, cue drool and excitement*

This year I got the opportunity to listen to Scott Westerfeld (author of The Uglies and Leviathan) as he spoke about the progression of art and photography in books.  It was a great lecture.  Yet something he said, slightly unrelated, is what has inspired this blog post.

"Finish everything." - Scott Westerfeld

Now, you may be rolling your eyes and saying "duh" right back at me.  But if you take a moment to think about it, you just may realize that that statement is all too true.

We writers, we like to leave our worlds unfinished.  Maybe a story wasn't going the way we wanted, so we step away... for months.  Maybe we get a muse strike and write an amazing ending to a story, yet never bother to think of the entire plot before that.  We get mad at a paragraph so decide to stop mid-sentence, saying we will come back later.  And we never come back.

Sound familiar?

As Westerfeld said (of course this is paraphrased by me, being as I was too into it the lecture to actually write the quote down)...

You may write one hundred amazing beginnings, a handful of great middles, and a couple of decent ends.  Yet when the time comes to finally write your book, you will find there is an issue:  The beginning of your book will rock.  The middle will be decent.  And you find yourself with no clue how to wrap the whole dang thing up.

This is why you finish everything.
Even if the story ends up going in a direction you didn't want or plan.  Even if the paragraph feels like complete gibberish.  Even if you just hate it.  FINISH IT.

An armful of crappy stories is still an armful of stories.  You may never let them see the light of day again, but with each one you will learn something new.
Finish it.

We have been taught that practice makes perfect ever since we fell off our first bike.  Remember that.  Make it a goal to see every word through to the end.  With time, you will notice that your beginnings will shine even more, your middles will be thicker, and your endings will finally install that final gasp you have been looking for.

Whether you are working on a novel that has been years in developement or if you are diving headfirst into the craziness of NaNoWriMo, remember this.  No matter what...

Finish everything.

On a side note, Westerfeld recently made a great post about NaNoWriMo.
Looking for tips and advice?  
Go here!

Happy Writing.


Anonymous said...

That's such great advice! I never finish things, but if I don't finish, how will I learn anything by giving up? Awesome post. :D

Dia said...

I totally agree! In the last few months I have gotten so much better with this! (finish two books in a year! TWO!) and I really understand the need to learn from mistakes. That's the only reason I am as far as I am.

Oh, and happy NaNo tomorrow!


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