Everyone’s heard the old saying, “Don’t start what you can’t finish.” I think it’s a flawed philosophy, but one with a sliver of truth. Those who know me know I don’t like to leave anything hanging. Whether it’s in my writing, or when I’m prepping pizza dough, or when I’m activating a phone for a customer. I want to see a task all the way through, or at least reach a comfortable stopping point. But in my walk through life, I realized that finding resolution is not always possible. That you have to stop wherever you’re at and move on to something else.
I’ve experienced these feelings with my writing over the past several months. Each of the following scenarios marked good intentions, but ultimately ended up on the shelf.
Exhibit A: Earlier this year, I posted some goals I wanted to accomplish. One was posting a short story series. I had everything pretty much figured out. Then as I wrote them and telling others about it, I slowed down and eventually stopped. Bottom line, I wasn’t happy with how the stories turned out, so I scrapped the series.
Exhibit B: A few weeks ago, I started writing a story that basically was a modernized version of a published work. I started typing it out, but didn’t feel right about it, but a week later, felt compelled to write a different story. So I abandoned the reboot. As it stands now, I’m trying to make time to get the new story into my laptop and into the hands of potential readers.
Exhibit C. Back in April, when a new bookstore opened, I bought Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple.” Four months later, I started reading it. A week into it, I’m thinking about selling it. It’s not as enjoyable, despite being an American Classic. It just doesn’t do it for me.
There are more examples. These are the most recent. Two concepts are prevalent in those scenarios. One, I lost the passion and enthusiasm I had for them in the beginning. The energy wasn’t there. Two, in the middle of the activities, I “found” something better. But I learned that can be a curse in that there can be so many unfinished projects that it’s hard to keep them straight. Now, this isn’t to say that I will never go back to them. Maybe they need time to marinate. Perhaps I need to look at them from a new perspective. But currently, I am making the decision to stop, move on to different projects.
In life, we all have choices to make. I decide whether to have a good day or not. I decide whether to eat healthy or not. And so on. Writing has its own set. And I have to listen to what my heart and head says what I should do with my writing. Ultimately, it’s my decision. And if that means I stop a certain project midway, so be it.