It's Time to Finish the Writing Project(s) You Started
I'm betting a bunch of writing projects just flashed through your mind, perhaps followed quickly by a flash of guilt. (Tweet that!) Writers have stacks of stuff piled in the "writer's closet" that we never seem to go through because, well, we're too busy writing. I'm talking about the closet of unfinished projects, not a literal physical closet in our house, although those are probably just as cluttered and in needed of a thorough cleaning out which we also never get to because we're too busy writing.
So let's try to sift through our writer's closet today and see what's there and which projects we might be able to finish. (Tweet that!) Hopefully there's an item or two we can finish well or finish quickly.
Now, mind you, I'm not talking about the failed projects that don't deserve more of our time. Not the novels or articles or short stories or NaNoWriMo works we started, or even wrote to completion, that have no potential. These are practice works. They have value because they taught us and trained us and helped us along our writing journey. But they are not worth investing more time and effort in. If you have one or more of those, or even if you're not sure about a project, leave it in the closet.
(If it's a story of your heart that you love and want to finish, but it really needs a lot of work, leave it in the closet. We'll talk about that project next month.)
If you don't have time this month, if you're already booked full, look at your calendar and decide which month isn't booked yet. Make that the month you're going to target as your time to finish this project.
For me, the project I keep saying I'm going to finish and then "life" happens and I don't get to it is my series of twelve e-books for writers. Originally I was going to release one a month and have them all done in a year. That was a couple years ago. I've completed and released four:
- Cutting the Passive Voice
- How to Get Published by Magazines and Book Publishers
- Query Letters
As currently planned, I have eight in the series left. I threatened some time ago, on this blog I believe, to finish them. I don't know what happened then but I remember getting some work done on one and then… Whatever. They still are not finished.
So I've been planning for some time to finish them (or at least some of them) this month. June 2017. Yet here it is the 5th of the month and I'm just now writing the post that should have been posted the first of the month. What can I say. I'm a little behind.
(I'll blame it on my short film that kept lingering on as I tried to finish it. It's done and was turned in on June 1 by the deadline on June 2. I still have work to do to turn in the final documents, etc., by June 9. See last month's post for more info on that. I plan to write more about my short film documentary in the upcoming August 2017 post.)
So what is your project you'd like to finish? Need some help deciding? Let's talk about it. (Tweet that!)
What to Finish
Now that you've thought of all those projects you could finish, how do we pick one to work on? First, don't think of it as picking one, just picking the one to finish first. You'll get to the others too.
Closest to doneWhich of your projects is the closest to being done? If you work on this project, it will be the quickest one to finish. It will give you a sense of accomplishment. It will give you a something to sell or share. It will be one project checked off the list.
On my list of e-books, some of them I already have the manuscript written. They just need formatted and uploaded to Amazon's Kindle. One is formatted and partially uploaded, if I remember right. Others I have not written yet. I have the outline and have taught the material as a workshop, but I need to write it out to make it an e-book. It would take me very little time to finish the one that is formatted and partially uploaded. Duh. I need to start there.
Smallest/ Shortest / EasiestPerhaps you have a project that would take little work to complete. Maybe it's not the most important to you. That's why you haven't finished it — everything else is more important. But if you finish this one, again you'd have an e-book to sell or an article to submit. What would it take to finish it and check it off the list?
Again, my almost-finished e-book I mentioned above fits here. It needs the least amount of work to finish. I sometimes get caught up in feeling I need to finish the biggest and best. Keep it simple.
Will produce greatest incomeDo you have a partially completed project that, when finished, you can sell as an e-book or a printed book (Tweet that!), an article you might sell to a magazine or a short story to a compilation book that pays well? Maybe this is the project for you to pick and complete.
Hopefully a new e-book in my line for writers will spark new interest in all of them, increasing my income.
Will produce greatest joyWhich of your many unfinished projects is close to being done and would give you great joy to complete? Maybe it's a project just for you — you never intended to sell it or share it — and everything else in your world has kept you from it. Schedule time and put it on your calendar to finish it. Maybe you will sell or share it. That's good too. Do it.
Yeah, sharing what I've learned in e-books brings me joy!
How to Finish
Maybe you haven't finished this project for a reason. You've set it aside because there's something there preventing you from finishing it. Perfect! This is the month to tackle that challenge. Stop letting it stop you! Consider:
RoadblocksYou might be procrastinating because of a roadblock that you don't know how to overcome. Well this month it's time to dismantle that roadblock. I've found that often roadblocks grow bigger with time, or at least they appear to. The truth is, when I start to tackle them they shrink to something that's far easier to step over than I ever imagined. So what do you need to make this roadblock disappear?
Ask someone. Find an expert in the field and see if they will help or mentor you, or at least point you in the right direction.
Ask a friend for help. Sometimes people are more willing to help us than we realize. The truth is, most often the people we know really want to see us succeed. Ask. They might help.
Hire some help or trade skills.
Perhaps more research will help?
Stumbling blocksOr maybe it's not a roadblock but just a stumbling block: something that seems difficult or time consuming. Or something you just hate to do. Maybe one of the ideas above will help. Or can you possibly make a list of nearby friends who can help you, ask them to come, throw them a party, and let them help you?
Or maybe you just need time. Can these friends temporarily take some responsibilities for you to give you intensive, uninterrupted work time to finish? Ask.
Something neededPerhaps you simply need something to finish it. What do you need? Where can you get it? Editing? A book cover? I recently reminded a friend of Fiverr.com and she found the editing she needed at a great price on that site. I had the e-book covers for my twelve e-books designed there and I think they're pretty awesome. (Now, if I'd just finish formatting some, and writing others, and getting them out there!)
Whatever you need, write it down. Write it in big bright letters on your big white board. Then go after it. Find it. Tackle it. Then finish your project and move on! (Tweet that!)
This Bible verse speaks to me. I've typed it up, printed it out, and pinned it to the bulletin board in my office:
Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it… 1 Corinthians 8:11 NIV
Which writing project(s) have you started but never finished that's speaking to you saying, "It's time to finish what you've started"? (Tweet that!)
What are you working on to finish?
What did you finish?
Let us know in the comments section below. Include a link to your finished product if you want so we can check it out.
If your unfinished project is making a Kindle e-book but a roadblock or stumbling block for you is that you don't know how, you can find help in the series I wrote on that topic. These posts walk you through the process:
- How to Make Your Manuscript a Kindle E-Book on Amazon (for Free) - Part 1: Formatting Your Kindle Document
- How to Make Your Manuscript Into a Kindle E-Book on Amazon (for Free) - Part 2 - Front Matter, Back Matter, and Images
- How to Make Your Manuscript Into a Kindle E-Book on Amazon - Part 3 - Get Your E-Book Covers Here! (Not All Free)
- How to Make Your Manuscript Into a Kindle E-Book on Amazon (for Free) - Part 4 – Uploading Your Ebook