What every writer knows about finishing

February storm on the pond

When I finish a writing project, I am swept away to a place where I can breathe deeply. Fresh air fills my lungs. I stretch my body and expand my mind to let new ideas flow.

Am I ever really done?

The thought of taking time off to celebrate doesn’t enter my mind. I am under the same spell as most writers. We don’t write by choice. We have to tell our stories. It’s a compulsion so ingrained, a pleasure so exquisite, it transfixes us. We gaze at the horizon and envision other worlds.

Unlike other professions, being a writer is a vocation, a passion, an honor. It’s a freedom to write what I think. The only limit is my imagination.

A clean sheet of paper is aΒ pristine blanket of snow. Full of Earth’s sweetness and possibility, it beckons me to keep writing. I open my mind and let the words pour onto the page.

I start anew.

Why do you write? What does finishing feel like? Are you currently working on any writing projects?Β 

This is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – State of Mind

109 thoughts on “What every writer knows about finishing

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  1. no, you’re never really done. although each writing project may be finished, it’s only a section of a much larger project. a brief respite, then turn the page to begin the next chapter.

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    1. Exactly! Our body of work is completed over a lifetime. I only started a few years ago, so it will only be half a body. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by, Rich! It’s always great to “see” you.

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  2. Hi Susie. It is as Rich says, we are never quite done. I’m working on a chapbook (kind of) and as I trawl through very early poems I am compelled to rewrite the ones I don’t want to include but want to use as tasters.

    When I do publish here there is a whiff of anxiety, especially so when I have just been to readings with published writers. Is that the same for you?

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    1. Congrats on your project!
      I still stiffen up before publishing a blog post, although I used to get really stressed out. I can’t imagine what it will be like when I pull the trigger and publish a book. YIKES!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It took me SIX years to write my debut novel, but I’d been writing 12 years before that and had finished three other books. With book #4, I felt like it was my strongest book so far, and I’d just taken it as far as I could. My author friends also confirmed, “It’s time.” I found the right publisher, and the rest is history. I’m hard at work at book #2 in this series, and OMG! It’s hard to go back to a blank page one, striving for 380 pages!

    Great to see you, Susie. How are your novels?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great to “see” you too!

      Congrats on your books! Do you plot point or outline? I don’t have a strict plan, but knowing where certain beats go helps me to keep up the pacing.

      I finished polishing my debut novel yesterday. I originally wrote it in third person and decided to rewrite it in first. It took five weeks, but I finally feel confident about it. Back to querying! In the meantime, I’m rewriting a screenplay and finishing another book. It all takes time, but I LOVE it!

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      1. I WISH I was more of a plotter, but I’m really more of a pantster. With a new book, I usually only “know” my story up to a certain point. I outline as much as I can, desperately trying to get more, but at some point, I just started writing. The story doesn’t seem to reveal itself to me until I start typing away. I write as much as I can by myself…when I hit a wall, I start taking chapters to my weekly critique group. They REALLY help me find my story.

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        1. It’s cool how we are all so different. I can tent pole a couple big plot point, but outlining stifles my imagination. I think my best writing comes when I start in one direction and then twist it in another. Being along for the ride is pretty dang fun.
          Your critique group rocks. I love brainstorming ideas.

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      1. I hope you’re right. I hadn’t written anything for several days and last night I forced myself to write at least two sentences. Then I sat back and thought for a minute and more words started to come. I find that I just have to make a start and that usually gets me over the rough spot. (That dreaded blank spot).

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  4. “A clean sheet of paper is a pristine blanket of snow.” Aside from notes I have scattered here at The Grind all over my desk and one I punctured over the coat hook where my boss’s coat is hanging (“Remember: take home your iPad!”), my writing world is pretty paperless. Lately, Susie, I’ve been thinking about what I want to write next. I’m considering going long form, or I might just stick with blog posts and essays. Time will tell.

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  5. I write because I have an overactive imagination (always have) and have entirely too many stories and characters running amok in my mind. Being a perfectionist means a story is never complete to me, but the first book I finished “writing” felt incredible. I knew there was more work, but the main gist of the story was out of my head and I could mold and shape it however I needed or wanted after that. Currently, I’m working on a romantic comedy novella that won’t shut up. =)

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    1. That sounds fantastic! Good luck with your novella. πŸ™‚
      After four years of editing, I am done with perfectionism. My desire to finish other projects is stronger. Thank God!
      Characters are funny that way. They will pester me until I type the words, “The End.”
      Now I’m ready for a new cast.
      Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Beautiful Prose My Friend πŸ™‚ You know I write because I crave it and love telling a good story πŸ™‚ I am curious, have an active imagination and let to unleash my creative side too. I am not quite as good at you in getting readers on the edge of their seats, however; I am practicing with each key stroke. I usually am on to the next piece of writing when I finish and sometimes have more than one piece going at a time. I have been really thinking about submitting a writing piece to see if I could get it published. I have not hit send quite yet.

    Happy Writing – thanks so much for the inspiration and support – it means so much to me to be a part of a supportive, friendly and loving blogging community πŸ™‚

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    1. Go for it! You have nothing to lose and confidence to gain.
      That is so sweet of you to say! Writing suspense is one kind of genre writing. There are a lot of them out there. Thanks so much! I depend on our community too. I would blog if it was to the sound of crickets…
      Happy Writing to you, Renee!

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  7. I struggle to finish stuff as it never feels finished. After writing the third draft of a book last year and accepting that I had taken it as far as it could go my head felt quiet. It was really eerie and I hated the empty feeling followed by the ‘aghhh what next?’

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    1. That is eerie. I write down ideas all the time so if I blank out, I can look at my list and say, “Oh, yeah. I remember now.” I’ve felt that way with blog posts, but I have enough books and screenplays lined up to keep me busy for the next few years. I need two or three of me. I started writing later in life so time is always nipping at my heels! Yikes!
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I write to process my life and to share my photos once in a while. It’s how I gel things together and make them concrete in my mind. So, quite selfishly, I write for myself, and quite happily, a few people happen to like to read it. Also, from time to time I like to share things I’ve learned in the hopes that it might help someone else.

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    1. That’s a great reason, Coleen! Writing puts things in order. I’ve learned a lot about myself too. Mostly, that I will share just about anything that happens to me without embarrassment. πŸ™‚

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  9. Your response is infectious of your passion. To me, writing is like breathing. Yes, sometimes I stop breathing but it makes me so uncomfortable I choke on my existence. I am already writing a two part short story (Three Tamarind Trees).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do something completely different. I was trained as an illustrator and always felt like I “had” to draw. I felt the same way as you. Then I started writing. I found my passion. That was only five years ago, but I can’t stop.
      Is there something else out there you really truly enjoy doing?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You’re so right about why we write. We really don’t have a choice, haha. I personally almost never feel like I’ve finished a project because there is always room for improvement. Deciding something is finished and ‘letting go’ of it is the hardest thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so true! I experienced this feeling after I completely rewrote my book in first person after many, many other rewrites. It took 6 solid weeks. I finally feel confident about it and plan to query again.
      Good luck to you! Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. Sometimes I think the hardest part is getting to ‘The End’ and stopping. πŸ™‚ Separate from editing and all that jazz … but knowing when to take hands of the keyboard and … stop.

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    1. I’ve gotten to the end of my manuscript many many times and thought, “This is it!” Then I learned something new that would help and edited or rewrote. After several years, I think this is it. We’ll see! Good luck to you!

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  12. I love the photo, Susie. I’ve been doing a daily blog for over four years. I started with almost all writing and now have for some time been doing mostly photography. But either way, I do it because I feel driven to do so and because I enjoy it. Congrats on the book and good luck.

    janet

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    1. Thanks so much, Janet! On to the next project…
      The funny thing about blogging is I never know what will resonate. This one blew up and I finished it in 30 minutes. Others take hours and get less views. They are all practice and worth it in that respect. I love to write and take photos!
      Thanks for swinging by the Wild Ride!

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      1. I know what you mean about not knowing what will be appreciated. I have one post I did ages ago about an Al Stewart song that seems to have a life of its own, so much so that I did a post on that not long ago. It keeps getting views most days of the week. Very odd.

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  13. THAT picture, Susie!! I feel like I can crawl right into it and sit on the bench. Beautiful just like the words you wrote. You described a writer’s mind and world so eloquently, thus, you are one talented woman!

    I was working on a novel (and still work on occasionally) but it’s based on a real life family story and I find myself afraid to be too honest and reveal the secrets that would make it complete. I go back and forth and hopefully will let it flow.

    You have yourself a wonderful weekend! xo

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    1. Thanks so much, Maria! It was a stream of conscious writing exercise. It was on my mind.
      Non-fiction is where I started five years ago, and quickly ended. I found fiction to be waaaaaaaaaaay easier. I can make up the characters and no one will be offended. Whew! When I publish my Boob Reports, they will be musings rather than a life story. I cracked a lot of jokes and surprised people during a pretty serious time. My brain is just wired that way!
      xo to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly how I feel! You write so many blog posts on top of your projects. Amazing! I have to focus on my books and screenplays. Someday, maybe I’ll get some time off to crank out posts. I really love this short format.

      Liked by 1 person

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