Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quit Standing In The Mud

At what point does one stop working on their current project (one they've been working on for several years) before they should move on to the next thing?

"But Mark," you say, "I know this is a great story.  If I can just spend the next five years, I know I can get it right."

Sometimes we have to let go and set aside what we're working on and go forth with a new and fresh idea.

The same can be said about writing the first draft of your novel.  When I wrote my very first novel (a 1,000-page horror story I wrote back in college) I remember writing the first three chapters.  Each chapter introduced a different character.  Then, when I finished with the third chapter, I went back to the first one and expanded it.  And expanded it.  And expanded it.

Did I say that I expanded it?

My first chapter ended up to be 50 pages long.  Holy cow!  There were two or three flashbacks, even.  Not a good thing.  But I couldn't get past it until I thought it was perfect.  Then, I made an amazing discovery.  I needed to just write the story, right to the end, without going back and perfecting anything.  So, I spent the next 18 months doing so, spending a lot of late nights and missing (I'm sure) a few parties along the way.  But did I mind?  No way.  I learned a lot about that process, about setting a goal of finishing that first draft without looking back.

What are you waiting for?  Quit standing in the mud, squishing your feet into the wet earth, and get moving.

Write!  Write today!  Don't wait . . . because if you do, you'll get stuck in the mud.  Make the commitment to get out of the mud, because it's nothing but a stagnant pool of failed dreams and lost potential.

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