Lamar Giles
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Are you having trouble crossing the finish line?

I’ve spoken at length about my novel WHISPERTOWN, which my agent will be taking on submission next month. It’s pretty much done (I say pretty much, because we’ll likely make tweaks/line edits up until the day we start shopping it to editors). Bottomline: It’s got a beginning, middle, and end.

That alone is a feat in itself.

I’ve met so many people over the years who “always wanted to write a book”, and a few of them have even hammered out some chapters, maybe even half of a novel.

Too many of them never finish.

There’s no sin in starting a book and not finishing. I’ve done it plenty myself. However, if you really want to be in this game, you gotta finish something.

In my estimation, there are a few reasons why an aspiring writer doesn’t finish ANY project…

1) Fear

A broad term, yes. To be specific, fear of rejection. If you don’t finish, you never have to hear someone say that you wasted your time, that you shouldn’t quit your day job, that you suck.

Here’s the bad news: someone’s going to say that anyway, particularly if you ever publish.  My first major sale was to an anthology called DARK DREAMS and one current Amazon review is titled “100% Pure Garbage”. Granted, since it was an anthology, the venom wasn’t aimed directly at me, but I still felt the pain. And I have no illusions, someone is going to (or already does) feel that way about any solo project I do.

If you don’t believe that someone is always going to dislike your work, go look up the reviews for the most brilliant novel you ever read and see if someone doesn’t trash it. It happens.

Get over it. If you really want this, you get a thick skin and tell the best stories you can (to completion). You’ll learn to love the negative feedback; it’ll make you write that much harder.

2) You don’t have a support system

As a writer, you spend a lot of time in a vacuum, you and your computer/notebook/legal pad. You may be mistaking the mid-story fatigue you feel as something unique, a personal weakness that no true writer suffers. It’s so not true.

Writers get tired. They procrastinate. They spend 10 hours straight playing God of War III (okay, maybe that’s just me). My point is, we all get worn out after a few thousand words.

That’s why it’s good to talk to positive people who are trying to do what you do. A writing partner, critique group, online message board. All can be good support systems to get you over the hump. You’re not alone, and if you approach them in the right manner (meaning don’t ask them to read your half-written, unedited manuscript) you may find your favorite pros are willing to offer some encouragement, too.

Get out there and meet some writers. You never know, they may have been looking for you, too.

3) You don’t really want this job

I don’t blame you. Sometimes I don’t really want this job. Writing stories, books, poems, screenplays, etc. is hard work. However, there’s a difference between occasional fatigue and not being built for this.

Are you ready to spend long hours alone, typing away, no guarantee that anyone will ever appreciate your hard work? If you’re not finishing the stories you start, that could be a reason. Maybe you’d rather be at the gym, or on your Xbox, or out with your girl/boyfriend. If so, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But, be careful you’re not using your half-hearted writing aspiration be a shield between you and the real world. Your true passion is probably out there somewhere.

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