When I started writing novels, they rarely reached the end. Forget about editing, I couldn’t even finish. I lacked discipline, writing tools, direction and just general skill. I loved putting a new idea down, but I didn’t know how to bring that idea into fruition.
But I really wanted to.
What finally helped was
Practice. Just keep trying.
Dedication. Forcing myself to sit at that computer and write.
Planning. I could pants write everything. It just didn’t work. I had to have an ending in mind to work toward.
I still had a lot of starts, but I finally had some finishes too.
Problem was, they still weren’t very good. They meandered. They ran off track after plot bunnies. And the backstory… and once i realized this, well, it was discouraging and I found myself again with many starts and no finishes.
So I pushed myself.
Work-shopping. Letting my work get torn to shreds for the sake of making it better.
Outlining, hitting all the major plot points so I had a map to keep me on course
Researching good writing. Reading books and articles, going to conferences with successful writers.
Keeping a separate note file
Editing like hell when I finished a piece.
And hey, it worked. I started to produce work I was proud of. I was finishing one first draft a year. I was building up an arsenal of writing tools and I thought it was just gonna keep getting better.
But see, it’s happening again. I am stalling out. I am using all my tricks. Or trying to at least, but I’m on my forth work in progress that is just floundering right at the climax. What gives?
I know where it’s going. I have it all outlined. I am keeping my schedule, have all my reference material, I even have a network of talented writers to bounce ideas off of.
But these stories are not moving. I can start new stuff. I have new ideas. I can edit older work. I can write short stories. But my novels, my babies, they are just flopping in the mud whining that they don’t want to move.
So I am going to review the lessons I’ve learned. I’m going to read some books on craft. I’m going to brainstorm and I am going to shove these assholes out of the mud. And when I figure out what works, I will be back to report. I’ve done this before. I know I can do it now.