I’m having an issue.
I have so many ideas that lead to so many awesome projects that I start…
…and don’t finish.
Currently, there’s my WIP (work in progress), which stands at 60 chapters and 80,372 words and is so close to the finish line, but needs another round of revision on the first and last chapters. There’s the query letter for this project, which is finished, except for two lines. There are my half-composed Tweets that I plan to send out on Monday for #DVpit And then there’s a half-researched list of agents I’m already planning to send my query to when I finish it.
I’m not in such a bad place with the WIP. It’s just that there are quite a few other ‘awesome’ ideas I have that are competing for my attention:
- a series of blog posts
- The Illiterates of the 21st Century (installments 6 & 7 are both about 85% written)
- this blog post that I’m writing now
- a standalone urban, Charlotte, NC-based fantasy novel I just randomly started writing (1 chapter in)
- three completed drafts of short stories that now need editing (and research on where to submit these stories)
- two online courses/programs I’ve been wanting to create for forever (one for adult writers; one for pre-schoolers)
- A master’s degree (about that…; seriously, just ONE more class to go)
- and probably 2-3 things I can’t even think of
If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that when I’m stressed out and need an outlet or an escape, my brain can kind of kick into hyperdrive and start mass-producing ideas. When I’m at, or more so close to my worst, I’m usually also my most creative.
Honestly, I wrote myself through homelessness as a kid. Had lots of things I started and didn’t finish back then too. (Add another unfinished manuscript from my junior year of high school to that list up above). So, this has been a life-long problem.
2020 has produced lots of stress for me, and therefore, lots of ideas.
But, let me tell you. I am done not being done with things. This is the year I learn to finish what I start.
My WIP, which I affectionately call FTT, is getting sent out to three agents, every Monday for the next 6 Mondays, and starting up again in January if I’ve not found an agent.
The Illiterates series will have at least one update a month.
FTT Book #2 and the Urban NC Fantasy manuscripts will be completed by this time next year (it takes me about a month to write a first draft and 5-7 months to revise/edit…when I’m focused).
And, Lord help me, I am graduating this spring.
So, how will I accomplish all of this? It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something, and another thing to actually do it (if you’re like me, you know this). So, here are four tips I’m giving to myself (and to you, friend) to help finish what I (you) start.
In my opinion, naming the goal you want to achieve is actually the first step in achieving that goal. Name your goal. Write it out. Be clear and specific about what you want to accomplish. If you’re like me and have several goals, make a list.
Obviously (well, I see it now), my list is waaay too long to complete in any imminent time frame. After creating a list, decide which goals are most important to you right now, and focus solely on accomplishing those tasks before moving on to the next. If I had to choose three from above, I’d pick: polishing and querying my manuscript, continuing the Illiterates series, and completing my degree.
After you’ve narrowed down your priorities, it’s time to plan them out. I use my Passion Planner to keep me aware of action steps and accountable to deadlines. Take your goals one-by-one, break them down into smaller action steps, and assign a completion date to each step.
Now that you’ve got your action steps planned out, it’s time to produce. Produce the thoughts that produce the actions that produce the results you desire, and get it done.
That’s it. That is my plan for finishing what I start. I’ll report back with progress.
What about you? What have you started but not finished? If I had a 5th P, it would be Partner It (find an accountability partner). Share your proclamations below and I will cheer you on.