When you’ve been working on a number of projects for what seems like years, including trying to finish your novel, you’ll try anything to get traction and move forward. That’s what humans do. Trouble is, we don’t focus on one thing and work it until the end, we try a dozen things at once!
Ever decided that you wanted to lose a bit of weight? Have you ever just stopped eating too much? No, you’ve bought books, gone to therapy, started a bunch of prescribed diets, maybe gone to the gym, fretted about standing on the scales every day at exactly the right time with absolutely nothing on… When all you had to do was burn more than you ate. But when you really want to do something and you can’t seem to get traction, you look for any and all solutions. And in case one doesn’t work, you run two or three or six in parallel.
In the writing world, that means working on non-fiction, short stories, a screenplay, the novel, building a website, going on courses, doing research for everything…
All you really need to do is sit down, chill out a bit, focus on the most important piece of work, get that done AND OUT THERE, and then move onto the next thing.
Now, once you’re in the flow of writing and you have a few projects on the go, then knock your blue spotted socks off and go for it. But when you have too much going on and aren’t finishing anything, don’t do it. Just don’t risk it. Don’t overload yourself.
Most likely, you already have a day job along with a pile of other family commitments, so it makes perfect sense for your mind to shut down when you try to pile half a dozen writing projects into the mix. You probably already have too much going on.
Choose ONE project. Get it finished. Move to the next one.
Now, your natural instinct might be to say that your novel is the most important thing. Stop everything else and focus on that. But it might not be! It might be the half dozen stories that are almost ready for sale. Maybe it’s the Kindle book you published but haven’t pushed.
The mental pressure of unfinished work builds a barrier distracting you from moving on and focusing on the project you do perceive as being most important.
So work out what unfinished work might be stopping you finishing your novel (writing work, not the garden shed clear-out) and sort it. List everything you need to get done, and then sit down and work on each one until it’s FINISHED and you can cross it off the list.
Philip Roth said: “The road to hell is paved with Works-In-Progress!”
I’m inclined to agree!
Get it done today. Finish something.