- Your story may be better than you think. Try giving it to your critique group. Chances are, they'll like it and you'll realize it was your mean internal editor sending you the wrong message about the story. Or, they'll give you some ideas about why it is not working that you can address on a rewrite.
- The writing process answers questions your left brain cannot figure out. Oftentimes, when I'm writing a story, I don't quite have the ending worked out until I'm typing. Or sometimes the ending is different than I planned. I love it when this happens--it is one of those ah-ha moments that makes writing fun.
- If the beginning of the story isn't working well, you can always go back and revise. The fact remains that you can't make an objective judgment about whether a story is working until you have an ending. The end may even force you to rewrite the beginning, but that's okay, right?
- If you "finish" the story on paper but it still isn't working, your subconscious is still working on it. You might get another one of those "ah-ha" moments about how to fix it when you're in the shower rather than on the keyboard. I've found these moment come more easily when a draft is completed, rather than when it is half-done.
- Let's say you finish a story and decide not to send it out to magazines because it is not your best work. A completed story still has value on your hard drive. You never know when you'll come across an anthology or context that fits your story exactly. You might just get it published after all.
22 March 2010
The Benefits of Not Giving Up
How many stories are saved, half-finished, on your hard drive? Or, at this very moment, have you written the first few pages of a story, decided it is not working as planned, and thought about putting it away? I want to encourage you to keep writing until the end--even if, with every word you type--you are more convinced it sucks. Why bother?