Weeks later, I’m still reflecting on the awesomeness that was Awesomecon 2017 (and already scheduling future convention appearances), and one of the things that stands out the most is how many aspiring authors asked me, “How do you finish?”
The truth is, it took me a very, very long time to train myself to finish a first draft. I say “train” because I really do feel that’s what I had to do. Why was I so hung up on not wanting to finish? Part of it is that I love the creation phase of writing about as much as I love ice cream, and I hate the idea of letting go of something that makes me so happy. Playing in the sandbox is so much fun for me that I never really want to go back inside.
The second reason I was reluctant to finish—and if you only take one thing from this post, this is what I hope sticks with you—is I was afraid that once I finished my draft, I’d have to let others read it. Errors and terrible word selection and awkward structure and all.
But here’s the thing. They’re called rough drafts for a reason. They’re supposed to be ugly. You’re supposed to put them aside for a bit to decompress before beginning to polish them up. But nowhere is there any rule or implication that says you have to share this draft with anyone. Not an agent, or strangers on the internet, or your best friend, or your mom. The rough draft is meant for you to explore your world and get to know your characters. And that’s what matters.
So here is my advice and heartfelt plea to all of my readers out there who had that amazing story idea… the one you’re not sure how to finish (or even start): Pick up a pen and paper. Sit down at your computer desk. Put yourself in whatever setting you need to be in so you can record your thoughts and write. Literally nobody else on Earth can tell the story in your heart the way you can, and both you and your story deserve to be expressed.
Even if we never meet, I believe in you. I believe in y our story, because stories are powerful creatures in their own rights. For whatever reason, the story in your heart chose you. It trusted you to be able to get it told. Now take its hand and trust it to lead you to The End.