31 October 2011

Unfinished Projects

On Friday I started off talking about multi-tasking, and ended up on the subject of finishing projects.  There is certainly no point in putting away the laptop and notebooks after sending a manuscript out to publishers and agents.  If you want to make a career from writing you need to produce more than one book or article.  But there are other times when it might be a good idea to turn to another project for a while.
I found it hard (read impossible) earlier this year to get back into the edits I needed to make in Lives Interrupted.  I would open the manuscript; open the edit file containing my notes on what I had completed, and what was still left to do.  I would read a few lines and feel this unbearable weight press down on me.  It was as though I was preparing to climb a mountain.  I'd close the files and walk away from my laptop.
It wasn't that I didn't want to write, but more that it seemed insignificant compared to what was happening at the time.
Ultimately, in an effort just to write, I put the editing aside and started working on a short story to submit for a competition.
It took a while but it worked, and I came out the other side with a renewed enthusiasm to get back to my novel.  Sometimes we do need to put a project aside and work on something else - just not too often I guess, or we end up with a hard drive of unfinished writing.

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