One of my favorite genre authors, Chuck Wendig, talks a lot about writing and art on his blog, Terrible Minds. One of his cardinal rules of art-ing is Finish Your Shit.
So simple. And so, so hard.
I’ve been in what I’ve thought of as the final editing phase of my manuscript since February. I thought I’d whip through it and shoot it out to some beta readers for feedback my March, April at the latest. And now it’s practically May. And I’ve got about a third of my manuscript to scrub and polish yet.
I’m itching to just get it out the door already. And other ideas are calling to me. It’s tempting to skip a step or two, or simply stop where i am and call it finished.
That’s the thing about art though, isn’t it? Finishing is even harder than starting … and starting is often a trick in itself. And yet finishing is critical. If we don’t finish—and finish right—all that effort goes to nothing. We don’t have anything to show for the work, we don’t have anything to publish, we don’t grow.
Finishing is where art separates the hobbyists from the pros. The pros stick it out and do it right. Hobbyists, the ones who are just in it for the fun and don’t care about growing their skills or sharing their work with the world (nothing wrong with that) drop it and move on to something else.
In a way, I like that finishing is so hard. Isn’t there enough competing noise out there as it is? Anyone can come up with a spark of an idea. Anyone can start. Various surveys have shown that a majority of people believe they have a story in them. But most never get those stories published. Because the idea isn’t what makes you an artist. What makes you an artist is seeing it through.
Inspiration only gets you so far. Don’t rely on it and don’t trust it. It can feel necessary, but the truth is your creativity is always there, even when the spark isn’t.
Good art makes you earn it.
How do you stick out your projects to the end?