The Importance of Following Through (even just for yourself)

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I want to start this week by saying … I DID IT! 4,000 words (well 4,079 words, actually) completed. I finally finished an entire project. Since this has been the hardest part for me I have to say I already feel like I can do anything. Now for the part I never thought I’d get to … the dreaded editing.

Some people like editing, it’s like a puzzle that soothes the soul. And in some cases, when looking at other people’s work, I can relate. It’s easy to stand outside of things and see where changes should be made, or what can be cut. It’s so much harder to stare at your own work and tear it apart limb from limb. A bit dramatic, sure. But that’s how it feels. Each piece you read feels as important as the one before. You took such effort, such painstaking effort, to create the story and now you have to acknowledge the parts that maybe are not that great.

So that’s where I’ve been this week – I completed my rough draft immediately after the blog update last week so I had plenty of extra time to start slow. So I did. Start slow. And I’m still going slow. Actually, I have managed to get as far as cutting two paragraphs. Then sending both the original rough draft and the minor edits to a few people to read for a sanity check. And then avoiding all work on it. And I do mean all. So much so that I avoided my computer yesterday.

Today I am smacking some sense into myself and reminding me I have a deadline I need to meet. I have exactly eleven days until the early bird deadline. Add another month onto that for the final, no more submissions accepted, deadline. My goal has been focusing on the early bird deadline. Because I am a firm believer in rip the bandage off and get on with it.

Let’s look over the accomplishments. Story finished, check. Ahead of schedule, check. Editing, not check.

How will this affect me moving forward? Really the two paragraphs I removed bring me to under the word count required. That’s good. Feasibly I could submit that and call it done. Should I? I’m going to go with absolutely not. No way in this lifetime should I submit an unedited, not reviewed piece.

Why Not? After all the impetus for submitting to this contest was to finish something. Goal accomplished.

Because now that I have completed something I feel like it would be wrong to submit something that I didn’t give everything I have. I feel like if I should submit something that has not gotten my full, 100%, absolute focus then if I don’t win I won’t know if it’s because I only went half way, or if it’s because it really wasn’t up to par with the other submissions.

I’ll never know, really, what I’m capable of if I don’t bring everything I have.

So, I’m almost done hiding under my covers, avoiding the computer. It’s about time I force myself to follow through and go all the way.

What does that mean for what’s next on the horizon? This time next week I will have at least one attempt at editing done, and a better idea on how I feel about the final.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with writing goals; you can share in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email: hsellers@heather-sellers.com

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