Thursday, April 11, 2019

One Word of Advice

Dear Burgeoning Author,


I know, I know. You want all the advice, and you want it now. You’ve heard the most basic piece: READ, READ, READ; WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. And you’ve been doing that.

“But PLEASE," you say, nearly panting. “Enlighten me further. Tell me everything!”

How about I start with one thing, one word, which may sound so basic but few people heed.

FINISH!

It’s so easy to glom onto a bright, shiny idea and swoon over it for weeks. It easy to name your characters, give them interesting traits, put them in the midst of extraordinary situations. Then you reach the middle.

There’s a reason it’s been dubbed murky. You’ve brilliantly laid out the start of your yellow brick road. You have  a solid idea for a satisfying conclusion. Maybe you even have that middle all plotted out. But the thing is, traveling from here to there can feel so boring. Yes, I said it. The writing process can be boring. That’s when danger happens.

A newer, brighter, shinier idea comes along. You wonder: How could I ever think that old, tired, idiotic idea was a stroke of genius? Then you get all moony over your new baby. You want to cradle it and rock it and spend your days with it. But resist. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in a never-ending loop of half-finished projects.

When you tough it out, the rewards might not be immediate, but they’ll run deeper than you can imagine. Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment and have a book that might be highly marketable, you’ll also learn so much more about the writing process—your personal process and writing in general—that you’ll be able to out-blog me on this topic.

Finish.
The End.

Your friend,
Jody Feldman

3 comments:

  1. Ditto to what Holly said. I love this advice, and it is (kind of strangely) under-said in our business. Middles can be really hard.... I think of it like a suspension bridge, and when you get to the middle, structurally, it's harder than at any other point to maintain the tension you need to hold the whole thing up. Which makes it a tough place to push through...but as you said, the rewards on the other side are BIG! :-) ...... Also, tangent, but I like to recommend "Write Your Novel From The Middle" to my students. It's been hugely helpful for me.

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  2. I love how this advice can be distilled into just that one word:"Finish." Sometimes I think I owe any success I've ever had in my life just to my ability to "follow through" on what I promise myself I'm going to do. Every promise I've kept to myself has brought me that much closer to wherever it is I want to be.

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