Equipping Writers for Success
HELPFUL LINKS   |   EDITOR'S CORNER (Ramblings on the Writing Life)

Getting Around...

Career Essentials
Getting Started
Queries & Manuscripts
Market Research

Classes & Conferences

Crafting Your Work
Grammar Guides

Writing Contests

The Writing Business
Income & Expenses
Selling Reprints

Negotiating Contracts Setting Fees/Getting Paid
Rights & Copyright
Tech Tools

The Writing Life
The Writing Life
Rejection/Writer's Block
Health & Safety

Time Management
Column: Ramblings on the Writing Life

Fiction Writing - General
General Techniques
Characters & Viewpoint
Setting & Description
Column: Crafting Fabulous Fiction

Fiction Writing - Genres
Children's Writing
Mystery Writing
Romance Writing
SF, Fantasy & Horror
Flash Fiction & More

Nonfiction Writing
General Freelancing
Columns & Syndication

Topical Markets
Travel Writing

Creative Nonfiction

International Freelancing
Business/Tech Writing

Other Topics
Poetry & Greeting Cards Screenwriting

Book Publishing
Traditional Publishing
Electronic Publishing
POD & Subsidy Publishing

Promotion/Social Media
General Promotion Tips
Book Reviews
Press Releases

Blogging/Social Media
Author Websites

Media/Public Speaking

Articles in Translation

Search Writing-World.com:

Yahoo: MSN:

This free script provided by
JavaScript Kit

The Secret Art of Reaching "The End"
by Mridu Khullar Relph

Return to The Writing Life · Print/Mobile-Friendly Version

Like most of you, I am an idea person. What this means, essentially, is that I have notebooks upon notebooks in my drawers and files upon files on my computer that are filled with ideas for books, characters, articles, essays, even queries. Some of them are just one-sentence ideas, some of them are thorough outlines that I've spent hours, sometimes days, on. If I were to add up all the time I've spent on these half-baked ideas, I suspect we'd be talking months, not weeks, of work that's unfinished and sitting in files that aren't going anywhere.

That, if you think about it, is a real shame. Because I came up with an idea, worked on it for however long, and never held its hand and helped it cross the finish line. It may be because I lost confidence in it, or more simply, it's because I found something newer and shinier to occupy myself with and my rabbit brain hopped on over to something more interesting and never returned. This means I wasted time, I'm sitting on money that could be made if I finished these pieces, and I've created the habit of producing work and taking it to a certain point but not completing it and sending it out.

"Real artists ship," said Steve Jobs, who led by example. What he meant was that at some point you have to stop tweaking, stop obsessing, stop revising, and just finish it. Then you have to pack it up, add the frills and fancies, and let it go. You have to let it go. You have to make a commitment to finishing everything you create and then you have to send it out into the world.

This finishing, that's where I stumble, and I suspect you do, too. Because it's easier to see the genius of an idea that's still in your head and much harder to actually put it on paper and continue to find that genius. Most of us are disappointed by the stories we produce because they were so much better in our head and when that gap between the vision and the reality doesn't always close, we hesitate. We don't finish. We don't ship.

I read this quote somewhere a while ago and it stuck with me: "Productivity is not getting stuff done. It is getting the right stuff done."

It's not about how many blog posts you can write or how much you can tweet or how many relationships with editors you can build, though all of those things are important. What matters most, is how many words you can write, how many projects you can finish, how quickly and how often you can ship. How are you going to use those relationships? What is the purpose of the blog posts? Is tweeting taking you away from your goal of shipping?

So here's my challenge to you today: Take a project, any project, that's in a half-state of completion and finish it this week. Ship it. Because creating is only one part of being a writer. Taking the risk to send it out into the world is the true test.

Are you ready to make that commitment? Are you ready to ship something today?

Copyright © 2015
This article is not available for reprint without the author's written permission.

Mridu Khullar Relph is an award-winning freelance journalist who has written for The New York Times, TIME, CNN, ABC News, and more. She runs The International Freelancer website (http://www.TheInternationalFreelancer.com) and will happily share 21 of her best query letters with anyone who signs up for her free weekly newsletter.


Copyright © 2018 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors and may not be reprinted
without the author's written permission, unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor

Organize your writing
and save time. Click here for a free download