finishing is harder.


In 2007 I made a New Year’s Resolution:  I decided it was time to start sharing my writing.  Since freshman year of high school I had not shared any of my fiction.  Not a page, not a story idea, not even the fact that I had been writing.  It was an affair I even tried to keep from D, writing only between classes at school, while he was gone on business trips.  I did a lot of ‘writing’ in the car when I was commuting.  A part of me recognized that this was ridiculous.

In 2007 a friend posted her New Year’s Resolutions on her blog and I decided to do the same in her comments section.  I don’t remember all of them:  Exercise more, be better about calling my brothers, share some of my writing.  What?  This was not something I had been thinking about., but there it was, up on my friend’s blog.  I even told D of my resolution.  I was coming clean.  D was loving and encouraging, and my productivity came to a stop.

I was still writing, but it wasn’t going anywhere.  I would start a new story with the same excitement,  but after a week or two I would hate it and throw it away.  I would think about having to share my writing and my stories would dead end.  I signed up for writing classes and critique groups, always under a fake name, and would quit after a session or two, always before it was my turn to share.  I became a big reader of books on writing which are, let’s face it, a way to avoid writing. 

Two and a half years later I still hadn’t shared anything and, more annoyingly, I also hadn’t finished anything.  I decided to stop the insanity.  I withdrew my resolution.  It was a bullshit resolution anyway. I don’t like to share, and that’s okay.  I didn’t go back to writing in secret, hiding it from my friends and D (although I have developed the childish tendency to slap my hands over my page when D comes into the room).  Within six weeks I had a story again.  It’s not Finished (note the capital ‘F’), but it does have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  It has characters with names who move.  It doesn’t have any of those annoying bits in parenthesis where I say “I don’t know how, but x, y, and z should happen here.  Fill in later.”  I’m still not sure I want to share, but finishing something (even lower case finishing) for the first time in three years?  Damn it feels pretty good.

About Shannon K.

My name is Shannon. I make stuff up.
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4 Responses to two

  1. ames says:

    I’m in love with your blog so far. Don’t let this one get away from you; I insist!

  2. TK Knox says:

    Oh do I understand this. I have the same issue now that I have ”come out of the closet” as a writer. I was writing like it was nothing, when nothing was riding on my writing. Now that I have decided to take writing as a career path however…the ink no longer spills over the page quite so easily, it tends to look out of its little jar on the table and stare at the paper going ”I don’t want to get out there! I feel safer inside my little glass jar where I am comfortable and used to!” I haven’t seen the end of one of my stories in three years, the same amount of time that I have been married to my loving and caring husband who supports my writing. I however don’t have the need to cover my writing with my husband. Rather, I try to get him to read it over and get opinions and he refuses to read a single word until the story has an ending, for fear that he’ll read part get hooked and never see where this cliff hanger leads. Any suggestions? Writer to writer?

  3. shannonmakesstuffup says:

    I’ve gone through a couple of long ‘droughts’ over the past few years and what always gets me going again is an exercise I made up based upon NPR’s three minute fiction contest (I have a link, below, at the bottom of my blog). I give myself an hour to write a story (it’s my lunch hour at work, so I also need to eat, too). Of necessity, these stories are really short, and most of them suck. You don’t have the time to dwell on it, overanalyze and judge. But I find some motivating satisfaction in just finishing something, even if it sucks, and once I made this part of my writing routine, I was always surprised at the wierd, creative stuff I came up with when I just gave myself a hour without judgment.

    • TK Knox says:

      Thanks so much! I will have to do that, I am always saying that I need to do some sort of writing exercises but never do them. I will be doing that as soon as I’m done here.

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