Wednesday, 9 February 2011

When you can't reach the end...

You've been working on your latest project for some time. You've researched, written, plotted and planned, found the weak points and chiselled them out, filled the holes and made it make sense. You're a few thousand words from the end.

And it grinds to a halt.

You know how it ends. You know what you want to say. You even have the wording for the very last line absolutely perfect. But you just can't seem to get there.

If you're not deleting more than you're adding in, and not convincing yourself that every word so far is utter rubbish, then you'll be taking a degree course in procrastination. There is a sudden urgency to bath the dog and clear out the attic, or go back to the beginning and check for weak words like just and very and nice. Anything, ANYTHING, but write those final words.

Something I've found helps is to have another work lined up and waiting to be started. A few tantalising notes in a loose leaf book, a couple of lines about a character, a dialogue quote. What ifs and whys and wheres scribbled, or cryptic sentences spoken into a dictaphone. Pretty soon, a new project is taking shape and demanding to be written, and I am champing at the bit to get to it.

Suddenly, procrastination doesn't seem so enticing. I want to finish this work so I can get started on my new piece, a piece that is going to be the best thing I ever wrote, my great masterpiece, the ONE. At which point, I knuckle down and write those last few pages, and write those immortal words:

The End.

If you have trouble finishing, try it. It can't hurt. And it might just work.


Liana Brooks said...

When I'm stuck, I push the project aside in favor of something else.

Anonymous said...

I can't do that. For one thing I find it impossible to concentrate on two major projects at once, and secondly, if I push it aside, it's a hop and a skip from abandoning it and having loads of unfinished projects lying around.

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