We’re often told how many people write and submit books to agents and publishers each year – it’s a lot. But I bet there’s a whole heap more who start writing and never reach the end. People find it much easier to start than they do to go on and finish.
I’ve been talking about mindset quite a lot recently, from having confidence in your work to getting through those lonely hours of writing without tangible rewards. I think that the high number of non-finishers comes down to a couple of things.
First, writing is extremely hard. You need a little talent and a lot of patience. The former reminds you that you have the potential to produce good work and, more importantly, to improve. The latter is what gets you through the knocks and the inevitable self-doubt.
But by far the most significant thing you need if you’re to start, persevere with and complete a significant writing project is commitment. You need a certain mindset, an approach to work whereby whatever happens, you’re determined to see it through.
It’s easy for me to say these things when I’m sat here with a finished novel to my name. I appreciate that, I really do. But don’t think that there weren’t times (and plenty of them) when I considered throwing in the towel and trying something else.
The problem was I couldn’t give up. Despite the challenges, from writer’s block to simultaneously managing a full-time job, I felt I’d made a commitment and just had to keep going until the bitter end.
As such, my lapses were frequent but fleeting. When they came, I thought about my commitment and pushed on.
Just do it
Having said all this, I can’t really help you any further with making your commitment. The truth is, if you’re like most writers, your writing will have to mould itself around the rest of your life. Work, bills and relationships will have to come first. That’s perfectly fine.
But if you want to write – if you want to give it a serious go – do make a commitment. Think about why you want to write. Then set a goal. Then set a timescale. You might not match or meet those expectations, but don’t give up until you’ve honoured what you set out to do.
Finishing a writing project is very rewarding. Be committed and be a finisher. It’s absolutely worth it in the end.