One of the top struggles I hear about from writers is the inability to finish a project. Reasons run the gamut from “not having enough time” to “lost confidence.” Rather than tangling ourselves up with figuring out methods on HOW to finish, I want you to focus on WHY you are a writer.
Because writing purpose is the foundation of your journey.
Your purpose is what drives you. Your purpose is what keeps you motivated. Your purpose is what supports and encourages you through the tough spots.
You have to ask yourself:
- “Why am I a writer?”
- “Why is this story rattling around in my soul?”
- “Why is this story keeping me up at night?”
- “What do I see myself, as a writer, doing in five years? Ten?”
- “How will I feel if I don’t write?”
- “How does writing make me feel when it’s going well? When it’s going not so well?”
If you can figure any of that out—and hopefully your answers aren’t tied in any way to making a lot of money, because that’s not going to happen, certainly not with your first publication—you have then found the motivation to finish your project. To get your butt in the chair and write every single day.
Now, I know there are a lot of people who disagree with the notion of writing every day. But in my view, writing is a form of nourishment for the soul.
You eat every day.
You sleep every day.
You drink liquids every day.
All of us do lots of different things every day.
To stay healthy. Your physical and emotional selves need that daily nourishment to stay healthy. The same is true of your creative self. Writing every day nourishes your creative self. You must tend to your creativity every day. I strongly believe it. I’ve been tending to my creativity every day since I was a little kid (with the exception of the low point in my life when I quit writing—but that ironically proves my point anyway).
MY WRITING PURPOSE
I wasn’t writing every day because I thought I had awesome material that was worthy of publication. No. I wrote every day because I had something on my heart and I needed to put it into words. Half of it was garbage—but that wasn’t a consideration. I wrote because writing is a part of me, and when I wrote, it felt good because I was nourishing myself.
The quality of my writing is secondary and should never trump the pillars of a strong writing routine. If I make the mistake of worrying about whether my stories or articles are well-written before I nail down time management, support system, habitat, or natural writing forces, then I am sabotaging my path towards finishing.
Finishing your project has everything to do with nourishing yourself. You’ve got a story in your heart, and true nourishment for a writer would be that you have to put it into words—all the way to The End.
But you have to make that commitment. You have to decide that it is important. Just like you might have decided drinking a glass of wine while watching television is important. Just like you might have decided a vacation to Europe is important. Just like you might have decided spending a day at the beach is important.
Those are random examples of choices that you might be making. So add daily writing practice to your list of choices you consider important. Add writing to your daily schedule just like you’re adding coffee break or email check-in.
Your purpose serves as the foundation of your writer self and pretty much dictates how your writer self will behave.
Whenever you find that you’re struggling, recycle what you believe is your purpose. Ask yourself if you’re honoring your purpose or if you’ve strayed. Ask yourself if your purpose was misguided to begin with. If you’re still feeling lost, then you should run a check of your natural writing forces to see where you might be self-sabotaging or simply not making the most of opportunities.
Finishing a project takes commitment. You’re more likely to finish what you started if you believe in your writer self’s purpose!
Are you a finisher? Or do you tend to stray away from projects? How difficult is it to get back on track?
Have a writerly day!