Call me Mr. Plow.

One of the skills I’ve been trying to cultivate this year is the ability to keep plowing through a manuscript, even if I’m not “feeling it.” The most important thing is that I’m still writing toward an end point; making it perfect and improving it can wait for the edits. I’ve found that I’m very great at starting things, but very rarely to I bring my writing to a complete finish, and I realized that, if I’m ever going to be successful with this whole writing thing, that needed to change. One thing I learned from publishing my first book is that it’s much easier to take a pile of rocks and polish them up to a sheen than it is to dig out a perfectly polished gem straight from the ground.

So far, I’ve been doing a great job, and the amount of work I’m able to churn out now is kind of astounding. I have at least three books half-way to completion, and three others quickly on their way there. There are quite a few of them that I’m really excited about, too. The problem comes from the fact that there are a few of them that I’m kind of starting to hate. Other projects on the periphery of my vision sit there looking at me with mournful eyes, and it’s so tempting to draw them in and work on them, too, but I have to stop myself. No moving on to more projects until these ones are finished.

What else can I do but keep plowing forward? I’ve been plowing through these pieces that I’m not “feeling,” just trying to fight my way to the end. On the one hand, I definitely appreciate when I work on the projects that I’m feeling more inspired toward, but am I wasting time on the ones that aren’t connecting? Or will I be glad I didn’t give up one day when I do find my inspiration again and I already have a solid start, and can just dive in with edits and changes?

The only way to know for sure is to just keep on going. The level of restraint I’m learning is evident, and I’m sure, once I do get to those other pieces I’ve been wanting to work on, I’ll appreciate them even more. What do you think? Do you feel its better to work through something to completion, even if you’re not feeling it, or would you say it’s more beneficial to “follow the muse” and really jump into whatever you feel is more creatively potent at that time?

For now, I think I’ll keep on plowing. We’ll consider those other projects rewards for getting through some of the much first.


    • Conversely, I’m amazed by and admire anyone who can just muscle it out through one piece at a time. I do not have anywhere near the attention span for that; there are just far too many ideas bouncing in my skull at one time…

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