Sunday, November 3, 2013


I've written six books and a dozen short stories, and I'm proud of each of them, even the ones that need more work before they'll be ready for publication.  I dive into each one with enthusiasm, and when I'm on a roll, I look forward to writing every day.

So why does it feel like such a chore near the end of each?

As the tale winds down, I feel like a marathoner trudging towards the finish line.  This has happened with each book, and it's frustrating.  I find myself getting anxious, and even though I still love the story, I start wondering if I can use shortcuts to just get near the end.

I think this is the result of several factors.  First of all, as I get near the end, I stop outlining.  This isn't done out of laziness - the outline is so that I know where to go when I get stuck, and I know where the story is concluding at this point.  However, having an outline is a bit of a security blanket.  I can look down and see the road ahead, but that's not the case near the end.  Although I know where the story is finishing up, I don't have tangible proof of it in front of me, and I think that unnerves me a little.  Maybe I should outline right to the end with some specificity so that I won't be looking around for something.

Second, I get impatient.  The book done that part of me just wants to sprint to the finish line, while the part of me that demands quality and fidelity to my original idea won't let me do that.  It'd be so much easier if the computer could just transcribe my thoughts and the images they produce directly onto the page.  But since that's not yet within the realm of technology, it feels like it's so close yet so far.  Also, since I have a day job for funny stuff like food and shelter, I can't spend every waking moment writing to the end.  I'll be on a roll when I have to stop for some reason or another(even for something as mundane as the day's 24 hours are up), and I look longingly at my unfinished manuscript.

Finally, there's always the feeling that maybe I got the ending wrong.  Think about it - you've just poured your heart and soul into this lengthy piece, one that has consumed the last several months of your life, and now you have to make sure it ends in a way that justifies the effort you expended.  We all want to make sure our work is worth it, so struggling for that ending is something a lot of writers can relate to.  Plus there's always that nagging voice in your head that wonders if you got it right.  It always makes for a struggle.

I hope that this phenomenon will lessen and I get more time to devote to the work, but I don't know if that'll happen.  The initial idea is always exhilarating, but it requires focus to see it through to the end, and focus is hard.  Most people don't do it well, even when it's something that ignites their passion.

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