This came up in the comments of a previous post. Ann from Inkpots and Quills said she needed to finish something, and I replied with this comment: "Ann, funny you should mention that little detail about actually finishing something. When I finished Farm Girl, I realized it was the first time I had a complete ms. in my hands, after all my years of writing. Even then, it was only 35,000 words! Embarrassing, huh?"
Without giving away my age, let me say that I've been writing for a long time. Finally, I complete a book-length manuscript, and it's under 35,000 freakin' words! My favorite rejection letter came after a week, from the University of Nebraska: "It's too short for us, but have you tried the Nebraska regional magazines?" Aaargh!! I finish my so-called book and find out it's not a book after all? It's an article for a magazine!
Well, fortunately, someone thought Farm Girl would make a delightful small book and was willing to invest in it as the first release of a new press. Short as it is, no one has complained. Not a single reviewer said it was too short. Still, needing to redeem myself as a "serious writer", my novel, Uncut Diamonds, is divided into two parts and comes to approximately 100,000 well-edited words, (including the Glossary of Mormon Terminology). Aha! Now that's a book.
This is what drives me to finish my next book. I spent too many years writing and not finishing. I know from reading your blogs that this isn't common to all writers. I see where many of you are prolific writers, churning out one full-length ms. after another. I admire you. I wish I were more like that-- more disciplined, more bursting with story ideas, more determined to spend the required time to write and to finish. More passionate about all of it.
Hats off to you finishers! You inspire me. And do you know the secret to getting published? Two words-- finish already!
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart
"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf