Saturday

FINISHING WHAT WE START

I remember the phrase, "Don't start something unless you can finish it." In my ego-fueled youth, it usually referred to a potential fight with another guy over some real or imagined slight. Today, I talk with people everyday about books; theirs, mine or those of someone else. I am blown away, although I shouldn't be, by the number of people who have started to write a book but cannot finish it. The obvious response would be to ask why, but the answers usually fall into the categories of no time, lost interest, or too hard. This is unfortunate because the world is being deprived of what may be a very important piece of information because if someone is compelled enough to start to write something, it has a place of importance in the universe or they would not have had the idea in the first place. I especially think of the tragic loss of memories from people who have lived their lives and their offspring will never know who they really were or what motivated, amused, irritated, pleased, disappointed and inspired them.

Sometimes quitting comes from having no plan to begin with and the writing portion starts to become work instead of an exercise in revelation. Like the sculptor who said that he simply chips away the pieces of marble that don't belong there to reveal the figure within, an author with a plan, simply moves from one section to the next to reveal his thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

A friend of mine is famous for using the phrase, "Start from start" but writing is not the starting point of a book, planning is. Discovering your own motivations for creating a book comes earlier than writing and answering the question "What's your book about?" in one sentence, comes before all of it. So here's the deal, if you have started a book or two or three and can't seem to finish it, go back and "start from start." answer the question, "What's your book about?" and begin moving through the steps with that answer being your filter and your inspiration for the days ahead.

Let me know if you have had difficulty moving forward in your authoring process and if you have been able to go past it, how did you do it?