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FinishingJanuary 12, 2007

I am frustrated. I am a good completer-of-things. I get things done. I follow through. Why, then, why can't I finish a book?

I would like to finish writing a book. There. That's all I'm thinking this morning. The long novel, the 500+ page one, is within fifty pages of being done. Yes, I'm sure of it. The middle book, that's within a hundred pages. The Nanowrimo romance, that's within perhaps twenty or thirty pages of completion.

I know, of course, that these are rough drafts. First drafts. They can be changed, ripped apart entirely. I can get the ending done and redo it later. Why don't I just do it, then? Aargh.

I won Nanowrimo, which means that I wrote 50,000 words in November. See? Completion, of a sort. But the book wants to be about 75,000 words, though, which is why it isn't Done.

And so instead of sitting down daily to finish things up, I start things like Runagogo to distract myself. Wonderful, that thing has turned out to be. Scout was right to encourage the idea to have its own website. Now I'm hooked on watching it, watching people post. I'm spending time running. It's a Project, and I adore projects. I need projects.

I just want my project to be writing, you know? I'm so easily distracted by shiny things or timesaving devices or the internet or knit-design ideas or chocolate, and it's just so hard to sit down and write sometimes.

Also, I'm whiny. ONE MORE NIGHT and I'm done with midnight shift, possibly FOREVER. That is something to celebrate. Instead, I'm unreasonably irritated with my coworkers, with the temperature, with my brainwaves. My face is itchy from dryness. I want to brush my teeth. I would like to eat ice cream but I have none. I had the WORST RUN EVER today.

I have the mean reds. They're not bad, and they'll pass, but I will certainly be glad to get home and go to bed. I don't even dare knit -- I'll screw something up, and how.

Perhaps yogurt with granola will help. I'll give it a shot.

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Comments

Grrrrr. I hate days like that. Hope yours is over soon. Did the yogurt help?

Maybe (and this is a long shot) you're scared to finish because that means it will be open to criticism and review?

Hug La, then eat some chocolate, then sit down at the computer and write. It's first draft, so there's no such thing as screwing up.

Now go. Go on, now.

MWAH!

Here'e hoping the grumpyness is something outside of ourselves. I was very grumpy with people last night, too. And that's just not me. I blame it on the weather a lot,we have a low moving through here bringing us frigid temps and snow. But since winter has been hiding here, we really shouldn't complain!

I think you should go look in the mirror at your beautiful red hair and you will feel better. No one can be in a bad mood when looking at a beautiful red head. :-D

Ugh, I hope the yogurt and granola helped. I hate days like that!

I was actually going to suggest what Carole did, because I certainly go through that. It's "Fear of Success Syndrome," because there's a part of me that thinks I didn't work hard enough to deserve it.

What is a "mean red"?

I'm in awe of your accomplishment thus far. Be gentle with yourself. The more you try to force yourself, the more you will find distractions.

Also, not that it's on the same level as your novel, but when I was writing essays for university, and I wrote a lot of them, sometimes I couldn't write the conclusion until I'd gone back and done a rewrite of the essay. Sometimes part of it, and sometimes all of it, but at the least I think it's a good idea to review what came before with the goal of focusing your thoughts on a cohesive end.

Good luck!

(((((HUG)))))) Those kind of days are awful. You're probably home by now, snoozing. I hope you awake refreshed and peaceful. Love on your dogs and La and eat lots of Chocolate. Just think...Cadbury eggs are getting closer EVERY DAY!

sorry you have the mean reds...those suck worse than anything...hey...go watch Breakfast at Tiffany's...eat something chocolaty...go for a loooong walk instead of a run tomorrow (that'll show those runny demons.hah) And hooray for being off midnights...you'll feel better in just a few short days...really...and your brain with all its wonderful writerly 'magination stuff will go on overload and you'll feel all inspired to finish off those novels (or not) or start something brand spanky new...(or not) and you already are a real writer anyway...now it's just a matter of finding the right folks to remunerate for your wonderful art/talent/skill...whatever...have a marvelously wonderful day. I always enjoy reading your blog!

You're a luv. Don't forget that.

Deep breath, wash your face, take a bite of chocolate. Give yourself permission to feel that way until a certain time, and say to yourself, "I'm going to be (mean red) until eleven o'clock, and then I'm moving on to something else." This never fails for me.

A great historian once told me how he cranked out a book a year: write two pages a day. Even two bad pages a day adds up to a book-length manuscript in a year.

I'm not as good at those two pages as I am at being mellow.

I think you should have someone read one or all of your mss's, so they can help you over the hump. Maybe one of your sisters. Yeah, maybe your middle sister. Yeah! Good idea!

If you do find the secret to not being distracted by new, shiny things, will you please tell me?

I'm sorry your run was so awful today. Sometimes it's just crap. bleh. I hate days like that. I hope you're feeling better today.

I'm hugging you. Does that help?
xo

Hey Rachael... just wanted you to know I understand about the writing. I have a freakin' rt degree, yet it is last on my list when it comes to "things to do today." After some soul-searching, I've decided I put it off because I really love it, I want to do well and have everyone like it and on and on, and I'm afraid I'll start and fail. That would be the worst thing ever! To have a painting just totally suck! I mean... that is my THING, if it doesn't turn out right, what does that say about me? Needless to say, all the self-applied pressure isn't helping.

Your novel? Write an end. A silly one. Write out the bare bones of what you want to happen, in bullet form if you want, and then go back and start editing. Write it when you're feeling confident, and trusting yourself more. Better to work on another part of it (note: I did not say "work one something else,") than not at all. Hope this helps... from one artist to another :)

An advice from me would be a terrible joke, me being the worst at finishing anything. But i'm a big fan of using things as an excuse for REWARDS - so have at it. next time - frozen (!) yogurt. heh heh. xo

From the time we started dating (Sept 2004), my husband had written much, and finished nothing. He was actually coming up on the end of finishing a science fiction trilogy that he had been working on for years, and then out of the blue started something else...which he also could not seem to get through. Until now! On New Year's Eve, he finished the novel he started 2 Nano's back, and the difference in his creative confidence is HUGE (just like I TOLD HIM). So GO FOR IT! It will be fine. I promise. :-)

Hey Rachel, it's time for your yearly reminder - I just saw Cadbury creme eggs at the big Long's. Pick some up and feel better soon, m'kay?

Dry skin? Utter Butter. Miners. Call your mom.

It's interesting you can't finish your book (I like Bronwyn's suggestion). I think we all have something like that in our lives. Hopefully you will find the energy to go the whole way becasue I would like to read it.

I can't finish a knitting project...I have sweaterS all knit but not put together...one sock and the start of the other, shawls 3/4's done...for whatever reason--and I do think it is the fear of putting it out there for others to like or hate, I don't finish. Maybe we can partner--How 'bout I finish your book, you finish my knitting ;-).

Hope you are feeling better.

Maxly

I think you need to think of the finishing as a project. Then write an end without any conditions whatsoever. No matter how unperfect, or how long, or how short. Just write an end, and you'll feel accomplished by meeting that goal. Then when you do the rewrite, you'll get ideas on how to make the ending GREAT.

And eat as much chocoloate as you like.

Do exactly whatever got you to 500 pages - to finish.

Anne Lamont in her book on writing, Bird by Bird, suggests writing at the same time, every day. Or perhaps you could make a writing schedule wherein you schedule time(not necessarily at the same time every day - just what's convenient) that you can allot for writing during the week and keep to it, no matter what mood you're in or what you're gravitated towards instead of writing during that time or even if you are not inspired or even if you just sit there,staring at the page, keep bringing your mind back to it like buddhists do with their breath. YOUR CHARACTERS NEED YOU. Who else is going to tell their story?

And give up the chocolate - sugar is a *SERIOUS* drug. I've been there. Underestimated in our society due to flawed capitalistic interests.

Also,some of those ideas in my prior post might be mine but some of those ideas might belong to Anne Lamont and or Natalie Goldberg and I picked them up subconsciously by reading their work or some of them might've just be hanging out in the zeitgeist. But I can't tell you cause I don't remember! So in case they aren't my ideas - I'm footnoting my sources, because I don't want to be accused of plagerism! Plagerism - never a good thing.

I hear you.

I have exactly the same problem right now - except I'm trying to finish a thesis. It's written in my head, but why oh why can I not sit down and finish writing it in print?!

I'm just dropping in via Claudia's, btw. Enjoying reading your blog.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at [email protected] to make arrangements.

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