Saturday morning I sat down and made another list of the various writing projects I have started and left unfinished. When I reached nine, I rested my case — my case being that I continue to have an almost manic inability to finish writing projects.
You may find that an odd statement from a guy with 12 books in print with his name on them, but a good half-dozen or more of those books are in the category of “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” I write all the time, and after a while I realize that these 24-60-101 blog posts fit together pretty well, so what do you know, here’s another book.
No, I’m talking about the writing projects where I set out to write a novel, write a sequel, publish a new edition of a vintage book, dive into my pile of short story ideas, or even work ahead in the blog so I’m not always writing about Saturday morning for the Sunday entry. Oh, and then there’s the marketing plan for those 12 existing books that never exactly gets finished or launched.
This is not a new problem for me. I even declared 2019 as “The Year of Finishing” in hopes of clearing this deck a little bit.
I even know how to tackle the pile of unfinished stuff. A friend of mine was beginning a huge project for his nonprofit organization. He had a list of tasks a mile long and remarked to a friend that he was overwhelmed by how much he had to do.
The friend smiled at the list, smiled, and said, “Pick one and do it. It doesn’t matter which one. Then do the next one. Just get started.” Sure enough, once he got started and got some momentum going, the list took care of itself.
So I know what to do: Just get started. Of course, all these years after “The Year of Finishing,” my main issue continues to be just getting finished.
“Set a deadline,” I/they keep saying, so I set one, and then I blow past the deadline like it wasn’t there. I probably should stop applying pressure on myself and just keep writing until I finish something, then start writing another project until that’s finished, et cetera et cetera yada yada yada ad infinitum.
Of course, I have to buckle down and finish this week’s day job quotas.
Then I have to finish setting up my new home office.
Then the dog needs a walk and all the other everyday tasks that must be finished.
With what time and energy is left, I can work on a writing or publishing project until I’m finished. And the next one. And the one after that.
It’s like I said: I know what to do. I just don’t do it.
One thing I do know is that if I talk too long about how I should get started, I’ll run out of time to get started. So I’m going to quit stalling and get started now. See ya later.