In the past couple of days I’ve had conversations with writers who are struggling to get to the end of their pieces, which seems to be the case with everyone. My advice to them is – and always will be – finish it up! I don’t care how you do it, just get there.
Yes, it’s difficult as hell. I compare it to crossing an unfinished bridge that you have to build further each time before you can take another step. But the payoff is a big one: Once you make it across you get to go back and rewrite.
I love the process of revision. To me, with the rewrite, you have something concrete. Sure, the bridge might need shoring up here and there, or maybe it’s too wide in spots or too narrow in others, or maybe the balance is off, but you have it, and you know when you step on the bridge what awaits you on the other side: now, it’s a matter of utilizing that to your best advantage.
Nothing’s easy in writing, but now – and this is the part I love best – you get to go back and fine tune all those echoes and shadows that lead to bigger echoes and shadows. You get to polish your characters until they feel like living people. That’s when the story comes alive. God, I love the smell of revision in the morning! (Or something like that.)
My point is, if you don’t get to the finish, you can’t get to the revision, you can’t put together a query letter or send the letter out to agents. You can’t send your MS to publishers; you can’t submit your short story to magazines and journals, and contests.
My last and most compelling reason for finishing up your work: I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t filled with a sense of accomplishment and joy when they finally made it to the end of a first draft. Have you?