Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Confessions of a Habitual Starter (Trish Doller)

I hereby confess: I start a lot of projects. I'll get an idea, like, "Wouldn't it be cool to collect vintage WELCOME TO postcards from everywhere we've ever lived and hang them in our house?" and I'll eagerly scour eBay for the postcards, buy a few, and then...yeah. I lose enthusiasm and then I'm stuck with one postcard that says WELCOME TO DETROIT and another that says WELCOME TO SANDUSKY.

For most of my life, it's been the same way with writing. I've lost count of how many books/stories I've started and then spent months revising and tweaking and fixing and rewriting, never coming anywhere near an ending. Or even a middle, for that matter. Even my current desktop has a folder full of beginnings, from when the idea was still shiny and (okay, I'll admit it) my excitement had me fantasizing about being a bestseller or award winner.

But when it comes right down to it, I prefer endings. Typing THE END means I've pushed through when my enthusiasm started to wane and the middle book doldrums threatened to stall me out. It means my idea's next destination will be out into the world, or to my editor, or to my agent, rather than just sitting in a folder on my desktop.



8 comments:

  1. I'm a constant starter too. I find it hard to focus on just one project at a time.

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  2. Christine, I find the best way for me to be a finisher is to put my butt in the chair, turn off the Internet, and force myself to work on the project at hand. Not nearly as fun as waiting for inspiration to strike, but it gets the job done. :)

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  3. I have tons of projects started. I should actually get rid of the ones I know I'll never write. (but what if I change my mind) :)

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  4. Oh, it's so nice to read this!! I wish I was one of those book mills, I could just come up with the idea, write the first few pages and hand it off to someone else. Starting is such fun! I recently started making my own pickles. And I started doing LSAT prep to prepare for law school. I love to start stuff, it's the finishing that's a bitch!

    So glad to know others are afflicted, and it's a positive thing, not an indication that I'm merely useless at follow through.

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  5. Thank you for this post! I didn't realize I was a constant starter, but over the past few years (after a bout with writer's block) it has seemed like no idea could hold me for long enough to finish a draft. Some I even did manage to finish but then I lost all hope during the revision process. It comforts me that other authors have that folder of unfinished (or barely started) novels on their desktop!

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  6. Yes, me, too - I much prefer typing The End. I have some ideas that have never (yet) gotten beyond the thumbnail idea stage. I fall in love with the premise, but then discover that I'm not as sure where I'm going as I thought. Sometimes I muscle through and find my way. Sometimes I have a file with an intriguing thumbnail premise.

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  7. Writing outdoors is my new trick...MUCH easier to avoid distractions on the deck or under a tree...

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  8. I have so many beginnings it's ridiculous. I think the "ideas" part of my brain is in permanent overdrive--I'll hear a family story, listen to a news report, see a picture, have a dream, read an article(or sometimes just a line!), etc., and all these connections start forming and before I know it I have a new story that wants written. I write about a paragraph so I won't forget the idea, and save it in a Word doc with other ideas. I think the file's 35 pages long at this point.

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