Oh, a happy ending, a promising ending, or even a sad but satisfying ending. As a writer it’s one of the most important parts of my job – ending well is the payoff for staying with a story. Yet I have many stories that I've begun, but that are still without endings (or proper endings) because I’ve abandoned them. The reasons for not finishing vary, but most common are that they weren't super ideas to begin with, or something else more interesting has captured my attention. Whichever way it happens, if I'm not engaged or the writing feels like a burden, I acknowledge it and accept that it's time to turn my energy elsewhere. Most of the time it’s with a mixture of sorrow and relief that I admit: This one's probably not going to make it.
Just as it takes fortitude to see some projects through, I believe it takes a certain level of bravery to not finish others. After all, isn’t part of the writer’s job to discern what is viable and what is not? To me, the choice to not finish is a different kind of ending – one played out in real life vs. on the page. Even though they are over, I carry with me the lessons I've learned from unfinished projects. And in giving up on a story that's not working, the pathway ahead opens to what is new and possible; a pathway that, this time, may lead clear to The End.
Have you ever been brave and made the decision to not finish something? If so, I hope the choice has led you to new ways forward to your own satisfying endings.