Are You A Chronic Starter Or A Steady Finisher?

My iphone is filled with ideas. It’s my virtual commonplace book. I keep all of my short stories and blog posts and novels there. I would not be surprised if that list took up more storage than the albums on my phone.

The main reason I have all these ideas is that I get inspired easily. Some might say it’s a focus problem but I like to think I’m just creative.

If I call myself creative I can simply shrug off my inability to stick with one thing for very long. The problem with this? I never give an idea a chance.


The strange thing about this is that I’ve been married for ten years. I’ve been at my job for almost that long as well. I have commitments that I keep in every aspect of my life but my writing life. I think I might have discovered the reason and I wondering if it is something you struggle with as well.

If I call a piece finished, it can be judged. Someone can tell me it is garbage and I should stop while I have the rest of my life left. No need to continue down this silly little writing path. You have to be great after all, or born with it, right?

Because of this self doubt, I have a hard time hitting the submit button on a blog post not to mention the dozens of drafts I do on a book that lay here and not in some agents slush pile. I am a chronic starter in need of a cure for my disbelief.

Do you struggle with finishing? Why? If not, what are your tips for sticking with it? I’m all ears.

7 thoughts on “Are You A Chronic Starter Or A Steady Finisher?

  1. I’ve become more organized now with my false starts. I have two files for those. One is called WIP and the other, Ideas. Sometimes I’d start a story based on a thought in my head and I stop when the spark flutters and die, but I keep what I wrote. Sometimes I go back to it. The Mercy Giver was one of those.

    Then I get ideas. Sometimes it’s just the title of a story or maybe just the premise. I write those in my Ideas folder to keep for later.

    Admittedly, I am now far more likely to complete my stories so the first folder contains old WIPs.

    1. Great idea with the system of folders, moving from one place to the next, like a factory for stories. I suppose I am dealing with the conundrum of time. Where to get more of it, how to create more space, and how to create systems (like yours) to move forward. Because I have so little of it I think I may choose the wrong idea and thus I hop from one project to the next and finish one out of five.

      On Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 5:06 PM, Part-Time Novel wrote:


      1. I’m still in the same boat in terms limited time, but I’ve learned that consistency trumps time. After a while it adds up. I also write more than one story at a time, mostly because I don’t have a choice. :-p

  2. I’m ashamed to admit I feel a sort of sick satisfaction when I read that other writers have doubts. Thank you for sharing this 😉 I edit and re-edit my blog posts all the time, it’s why I only post weekly. And, this morning WordPress posted the unedited version of my scheduled article for some reason . . . sufficed to say, I was LIVID.
    Having written the first three chapters of my book roughly thirty times, I know exactly what you mean about releasing work to be judged. But, I read a quote by James Cameron that said something like although he might not be the most talented filmmaker in the world, he works the hardest, and that’s why he is where he is today.
    I, for one, enjoy your blogs quite a bit, so keep going.

  3. JA,

    Thank you. I work hard on the posts and write about what I struggle with most of the time. It’s a tough pace and I may change it one day to three posts a week but I read a post the other day that changed my perspective on blogging and helped me continue to move forward regardless of my insecurities and grammatical or technical errors (I’ve also had a few posts go live by mistake I agree. That’s the worst!).

    Check out the link below. It’s by Chad Allen who is a Editorial Director of Baker Publishing Group. He has taught a few times at the writers conference my writers group does twice a year. I figure if he does it many agents probably do the same. Also, I am speaking about blogging at a Conference on Sat. I thought I should have something here for people to see. 🙂

    Thanks again for your encouraging comment.

    Now on to today’s post before getting the kids to school!

  4. Pingback: My Writing Update | Part-Time Novel

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