Finish Strong

Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world.

– Tom Clancy

Drew Brees said it. The New Orleans Saints made it their cry in the Superbowl.

Writers need to claim this phrase. Finish strong!

If you talk to enough writers, you are bound to find they all have one thing in common. They all have trouble finishing what they start.

When a new idea springs up in their thoughts, there is enthusiasm. There is interest. There is even a feeling of “I can’t stop writing”. Writers will lose sleep thinking about their plot. They will tune out of conversations when a thought hits them. They are totally engrossed in this new “best seller.”

But then, after writing for days, thinking about the story constantly, losing sleep, not being able to eat … something bad happens. They lose interest or get distracted by a new idea which seems to be more interesting than the story they are working on.

Let’s face it. New ideas are exciting. And when that newness wears off, the story idea loses some of its glamour. The writer finds himself staring at the page.

In addition, the bright, shiny surface wears off, and it’s easier to see the imperfections underneath. But, that’s just what happens to ideas over time.

So, as a writer, how can you stay inspired long enough to finish the manuscript?

The most important thing to remember is that “you don’t have to stay inspired.” It’s not necessary to feel inspired all the time. You can still work on the story anyway.

Let’s get practical. If you have a job, you probably don’t always feel inspired to go to work, but you do it anyway. If you are raising children, you probably don’t always feel inspired in your parenting, but you do it anyway.

Why do you continue to work on your job or parent your children when you don’t feel inspired? You do it because you’ve made a commitment. You do it because the rewards are worth it.

Inspiration is wonderful. Inspiration is fun. Inspiration makes writing easier, jobs more interesting and parenting more profitable. Through life you learn techniques to help keep that inspiration fire burning.

But you don’t need the fire.

Do you want to finish that children’s story or that novel? Then, commit to writing every day for a certain amount of time until it’s finished. In other words, commit to finishing your writing project. Finish strong.

There will be days when you will feel inspired. Then, there will be other days, where you feel dry and unproductive. But, you continue to write.

Many times if you press on and keep writing, the inspiration tends to come back. You nurture that tiny flame. You fan it. You pour gas on it. Then, the blaze will be back. The inspiration will return.

But you don’t need it. With or without it, stay committed to finishing what you started. And one day, at the end of the process you will have a beautiful poem or an intriguing story or novel!

That’s a reward that’s well worth the effort.

So, finish strong!

Have you ever experienced a time when you felt a loss of inspiration and you didn’t know what to do?

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