Why You Can’t Finish Your Writing

By on January 17, 2017
Why You Can’t Finish Your Writing - Writer's Life.org

Are you the kind of writer that has tonnes of brilliant ideas? One who starts writing full of energy and bubbling with excitement about your story? One who gets a few chapters in and then starts to lose interest, and stops altogether?

If your writing portfolio is mostly made up of half-baked ideas and unfinished pieces of writing, then it’s time to work out why. Ideas that just seem to drizzle out after the first few pages seem doomed to fail, and it can be rather disheartening if this is what happens to you time and time again.

Of course, if your stories or articles remain unfinished that’s fine, right? I mean, it’s not harming anyone but you. But what if you send the first few chapters off to a publisher and they ask to see more? Or you pitch an article idea to a magazine, and it gets accepted?

Then what?

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There are perhaps some reasons why this keeps on happening to you. If you address the issue, then you could find that instead of feeling doomed and miserable about your writing, you’ll find that you can write many great pieces, stories, even entire novels to the end. It’s all about making sure that idea is fully formed before you start. Here are some helpful tips.

Give your idea some space

You wake up in the middle of the night buzzing with excitement - you’ve come up with a genius idea for your next piece of writing. Yo hastily scribble a few notes down before going back to sleep. In the morning you take your sleepy scrawl, try to make sense of it, then begin.

The trouble with this is that you haven’t given your idea time to breathe. Just because you have had an idea, you don’t have to write about it straight away. Give yourself time to think about it, to develop it, to work out the finer details. Familiarising yourself with your own idea first will mean you are adequately prepped when you start writing and have a much clearer, well-rounded idea of how the whole piece will work.

Pitch your idea (whether you are pitching it or not)

Before you write a single word, write a pitch for your idea. This works for both fiction and article writing. How could you persuade someone they would want to read this, what makes it exciting and unique, what are the themes that bring it together or the argument you are trying to make? How do you want people to feel once they’ve read it?

Give yourself a deadline

Giving yourself structure as a writer is so important and can have a significant influence when it comes to completing those pieces of writing. A deadline means you can’t push an idea to the side or put it on the back burner, you have to write it, and even if it becomes a struggle, you must figure out how to overcome those obstacles and make it work.

Researching, investigating, plotting, planning, and fleshing out your ideas will help you make sure that you feel confident when it comes to actually writing it, and working to a deadline keeps a healthy amount of pressure on to ensure that you finish. Just think how happy you will be when you get to the end - that should be driven enough to keep you pushing through!

About Bethany Cadman

Bethany Cadman is an author and freelance writer. Her highly anticipated debut novel 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers' is available on Amazon as both an eBook and a paperback. You can find it here - http://tinyurl.com/z47t8qf


  1. James Saito

    January 17, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Just like this article says… I start a short story and immediately goes on the back burner. How is that? Am I a crazy old fool?

    Jimmy of downtown San Diego CA USA

    • Larry Spoo

      April 10, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      I am a crazy old fool as well. I started writing short stories about two years ago. Some finished some not. I have a collection of what I call story seeds. Story lines and ideas for future development. I still type them out and don’t leave anything to memory so I can revisit them and continue the thread.

    • suzanne

      April 10, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      No, you aren’t. It happens to me, too 🙂

  2. Don Falloon

    April 10, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    I’m an ADHD Adult, initiating many grandiose ideas stillborn shortly after starting the first few pages. Eventually managed to complete a number of short stories starting in 2005, then managed to write and self-publish two complete novels (the first contained 135,000 coherent words, the second coming in at 70,000, all while two-finger typing at the embarrassing speed of 20 WPM) in 2011 and 2012. After my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2013 I couldn’t put two words to paper. She beat the Big C and I should be publishing my latest WIP around September. What was the real difference IMO? I changed jobs from one I was good at but hated, to one that paid less but had 90% less stress. I no longer brought the job home with me. It freed my mind and let my creativity blossom. That’s my two cents; your mileage may vary.

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