Write, Decide, Finish

I have boxes of journals and index cards, folders of handwritten notes, and a section of my hard drive full of starter poems and essays.  Some pieces are further along than others, but they all have one thing in common, they are incomplete.

I look at some of these folders and say these ideas are “in work.”  And this is sometimes true.  I often write about my life and being in the middle of an event is a great time to take detailed notes because either I haven’t finished living that entire experience or gained the perspective needed to tell a complete story.

But the reality is that the majority of this is creative indecision.

Fortunately, my office can accommodate these boxes and full shelves but earlier this year, I decided that I couldn’t anymore.  I could no longer ignore that I start way more than I finish.  I began to face my procrastination, my fear, my piles of research — all that holds my writing back.

I still write new things.  I can’t help it.  The world is interesting — things are happening.  But I’m also dedicating time to old projects.  When I read an old fragment, sink into my old notes and feelings, I tell myself that I have to finish it in this sitting with what I know right now while so many other shiny things beg for my attention.  It’s not a fast process, so I usually do this with a snack and a cool drink.  On those days, on those pages, I tell myself I’m not writing, I’m finishing.


  1. I love how gentle this sounds to me–while also being badass:-) And isn’t writing really just about a moment (or two) in time–capturing where you are with life. If we wait to get it “right,” we’ll be waiting until we are dead and gone. And, then, what will we have? Scraps. Notes. Starters. Your way of thinking here reminds me of writing as a means of keeping a “thought” scrapbook. And I like that idea. Really like it. Thanks for giving me permission to finish pieces, too.

    1. We invest so much into our writing – it deserves to be a finished product, not scraps. Such a great word choice, Kim. I have opened files and was surprised how close some of these pieces were – just a little more TLC and it was done.

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