Finishing what you started

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I’ve always had a problem with finishing things – books, relationships (!) and now writing. Particularly writing. I  have a whole mass of unfinished short stories, flash fiction and now even a novel thrown into the mix, and when I say ‘unfinished,’ I mean written, but not edited to a suitable standard, a saleable standard, I guess.

I really want to understand the mentality that lies behind not completing something you’ve set out to do. In my case I would say it’s down to self-belief, as the things I truly believed I could do, I persevered with – piano playing, becoming fluent in Japanese and running two marathons.

Writing, however, is a different thing altogether. With the activities mentioned above, there is constant proof you’re improving (passing exams, being able to communicate well and completing races), but with writing, when you’re not winning or getting shortlisted in competitions, you only have your self-belief to tell you that you’re on the right track. Of course you can always depend on your nearest and dearest to tell you how talented you are (my mum is my biggest fan), but they’re probably slightly biased! With a creative pursuit such as writing, you have to dig deep and ignore the little voices that tell you can’t do it.  In my case, it’s getting easier. The more I do it, the more I feel I’m able to do it, so I’ve now reached the stage where it’s easier and more enjoyable to do it than not and that’s a great feeling.

I’m now in the process of revisiting my stories and editing them to the standard where I feel they have a realistic chance of publication, whereas in the past I would have just given up on them and started something new. This not only a sign that my self belief is increasing but also that I’m starting to take my writing more seriously.