01 October 2011

My Psychological Torture of Finishing a WiP

Or, why I have three unfinished novels and a multitude of short stories languishing in obscure-writing-hell instead out there in the Big Wide World of Slush Pile Purgatory. Well, I have two unfinished novels, truth be told. My finished (3rd? 4th? 18th?!?!?!) draft of my YA urban fantasy is finished but I currently hate it and think it's a pile of weak, runny poo. Of course, I then read this and I laugh - but no amount of imaginary press and bling will make me think better of my WiP at the moment.

Oh crap, I forgot I started a sequel to the urban fantasy. I'm back to having three unfinished novels. Let's not talk about that sequel because it's pants and needs more outlining and figuring out.

Then I read this and I feel a little better about myself. Shocking, I know - because I finished one, at least. I can't wait until I can get it critiqued by fresh eyes and see if it can stand up to a reader and not flop about like some struggling fish out of water. That's how I'm feeling right at this moment. A little fish having just been ousted from the big pond by far more amazing fish. Guppy-Schwilk in a pond full of beautiful and deadly koi. Deadly, I tell you.

The way my brain currently works, I'm surprised I've finished anything! I read this and I think it's dawning on me that (1) I am one of those irritating perfectionists (2) that is too hard on myself, (3) I also need firm deadlines because (4) I'm a lazy cow.

Numbers 3 and 4 bother me the most because I remember when I was at Uni, I was writing fiction all the time without any deadlines and lazy? I hate that word. I hate being associated with that word but I am. I come home from my straight job (which involves a lot of mindless typing/data entry) and though this would be typing for pleasure - my brain somehow convinces me it's still typing, therefore, something I can "do later".

(5) I am also easily distracted - I need to be in a room, alone to write. Didn't think writing in the same room as my spouse of ten years (who adores me and wants to see me published moreso than I do, I think) drives me batty. Even if I'm not interrupted, I still feel like I need to split my attention - so no people, no pets. Alone. I haven't tried the coffeehouse trick yet because I feel too self-conscious (y'know, pretentious "writer" in public vibe) and the last time I did that I was doing NaNoWriMo (2003) and that felt more social (but I'm doing NaNo this year, so who knows?)

What are your tricks about finishing your WiP? How do you make it past your personal hurdles? Where do you write? I'm curious. I'm desperate and, damn it all, I'm writing!

UPDATED: More fun, related links
Is there a Magic Pill...?
Interview with Samantha Bennett, How to Write Consistently & Finish Your Work

There is hope! I press on, stumbling, freaking out every so often.


  1. Oh, been there. Often.

  2. Thanks, tracikenworth!

    It's one of those things that can drive you mental - at least it does me! I really have to remind myself that pushing through and just finishing must be the goal.