How do you focus long enough to finish long stories? I feel like I always have 100 projects going at once and I never complete any of them. Honestly, I get discouraged to see you finish so many big stories when I can’t even finish one. Any advice?





First things first, anon! You should check out this post by @jadesabre301​, which is a very good post about comparing yourself to other people in fandom, and then this post by @spirrum​, which has basically your same question and some very excellent advice about starting small and working your way up (and also still being willing to post what you have, even if it’s not finished) which I think is great.

There’s also a quotation that goes around every now and then from GRRM, which goes (roughly, he’s said it a few times in a few different ways), “I think there are two types of writers, the
architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of
time, like an architect building a house. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even
nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and
water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a
fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and
they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have,
they find out as it grows. No one is purely an architect or a gardener in terms of writers, but many writers tend to one side or the other.”

I am very much an architect. I outline anything beyond about 40k words because I need to see the whole plan and how everything fits together before I ever start writing. I need to know the structural arcs I’m working towards, the plot beats and crisis points, and when a narrative is supposed to crest and fall again before I ever get there in the writing process, or I’m just as liable to kill the thing flat as sustain it. There’s room for flexing as I go, of course, but by the end of the outline I know the content of every chapter, the beats of every plot arc, and I often have bits of each section half-written in the outline itself, just because it helps me keep track of the balls I’m juggling. When I write, I need a detailed plan.

But here’s the thing: what works for me will not work for everyone. Jade is just as much gardener as I am architect; for her, writing is much more intuitive when she feels it out as she goes, when she lets the characters and situations develop freely from scene to scene. If she tries to heavily plan something out the way I do, she runs the risk of losing the spontaneity and effortlessness of her writing by getting bogged down in excess planning. I think people who are more gardeners need that freedom to let their writing grow as organically as possible. That’s when they’re strongest; that’s when the themes and plots develop most naturally for them.

I think it’s also worth figuring out what motivates you as a writer. What makes you want to finish the longer fic? Is it the super exciting scene in the ninth chapter where everything comes to a head? Is it the fight scene? The kiss? If you’re so distracted thinking about those parts instead of the current one, consider whether you’re one of the people who need to skip around and write out of order to keep your motivation and progress up.

Keep reading

I hope it’s okay to add onto this post – anon may or may not also find this article helpful. It’s one of my favorites. It’s TECHNICALLY tips for increasing your wordcount, but the idea here that productive/good writing comes from having various factors working in your favor, and the more you can alter, the better you come out. And I actually do often find that if I’m blocked, if I go through all of these points, I can figure out which is stalling me and resolve it. If anon’s trouble is switching from project to project because they get stuck on the old one and the new one becomes infinitely more appealing (I can relate), this may help them out. 

Of course! This is a really interesting article; I’m not familiar with her work, but she has some great points about ways to get the most out of your writing time. I completely agree with her about sketching out ideas beforehand, too. Thank you! 😀

Reblogging with a corrected article link, as Tumblr appears to have broken one from thegeminisage (sorry about that). I have read the article, though – about how the author went from writing 2,000 words a day to 10,000 words a day – and while I personally have no desire to write 10k words a day, it is a good article with lots of helpful advice on upping one’s daily word count. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.