Finish Your Shift (Penny Rader)

Due to some family health issues, I'm sharing a post I wrote for my personal blog a couple years or so ago.  It's still relevant to me, so maybe someone else will benefit from it, too.  I do apologize for not doing a links post on Aug. 31--I was traveling to a Texas hospital my husband had been taken to following a heart attack.  Since I didn't want to miss two posts in a row, I'm hoping you won't mind a repeat piece. by avrdreamer
Creative Commons licensed content

I recently listened to a writing workshop given by Jodi Thomas. One of the lessons she learned as a teen and applies to her writing keeps playing in my mind: Finish your shift. Translation: Finish your book. If it's completed, rewrite it. If it's rewritten, submit it.

I love doing revisions, doing research. It's the new stuff that comes hard for me. Getting those words on the page in the first place, that's my struggle.

While listening to Jodi's workshop, I realized that as a kid I loved working on various projects, but sometimes I didn't finish them. Who am I kidding? Most of the time I didn't finish them. I think it's because if I finished it, it would be done. Over. Completed. Then what? I didn't have a money tree in my yard, so I made projects last as long as I could.

I think it's the same with writing. If I finish the story, then what? I'll have to create a new one. Then the fear sets in. What if the words won't come? It's almost easier not writing, than risking the words not coming. by Bright Meadow
Creative Commons licensed content


Liz Flaherty said...

Yup. Me, too. I could have written this one. Hope your hubs is doing okay!

Ashantay said...

Oh, boy - spoke to my heart - thanks!

I hope your family is all healthy and happy.

Penny Rader said...

Thanks, Liz and Ashantay. I was hoping the post would speak to someone else, too.

My hubby is doing better, thank you. Still has moments when he feels weak, but overall he's doing well. He's had to drive me around a lot the past few days.

I somehow injured my neck (while sleeping - how messed up is that?) and then my dad ended up the hospital. Not sure how long he'll be in there, but they moved him from ICU to a private room. They are keeping a very close eye on him and my mom has scarcely left his side. My baby sister drove in from out of town and has been a huge help to my mom. My brother and other sister are also helping out a lot. They've all stepped up wonderfully, especially because their big sister, i.e. me, has been pretty worthless since Wednesday. Back at work today...and missing those muscle relaxers! Wish they made a kind that would relive the spasm in my neck without making all loopy.

Rox Delaney said...

Penny, hasn't anyone ever told you that a book is never finished?

You'll know when it's time to say "enough" when new characters start whispering in your ear.

Joan Vincent said...

I have to agree with Rox in that a book is never finished. I can always find something I can add or change or fiddle with. That said persistence is one of the most important factors in writing success.

Nina Sipes said...

There was a story beginning you did years ago that haunts me. Please finish it. It was about the woman who had a migraine went to the van in the parking lot in the shopping mall and things went downhill from there. You rock at beginnings.