Writing Technique: How To Finish Stalled Writing Projects

by Angela Booth

Nothing matches the fun of starting a new writing project. Often however it's hard to sustain the initial enthusiasm. You may find that many of your projects stall - no matter what you do, you can't restart them.

Whether you're writing for your own entertainment, or are writing on commission, stalled projects are depressing - if indeed they are stalled.

Is Your Writing Project Stalled, Or Finished?

With my writing students, I find that at least half the projects a student has trouble finishing are already complete. Sometimes it's hard to know when to designate a project as complete, polish it, and move on.

If you're having trouble finishing an article, look at your original premise, or angle. Have you covered everything you meant to cover? If you've left one topic dangling, just prune it, and tinker with the article until it reads smoothly, and hey presto - you're done.

Washing Garbage - Fatally Flawed Projects

Some projects are just fatally flawed. There's no way that you can complete these projects at all - either your premise was wrong, the characters are cardboard, or you can't get the research interviews you need. When you try to work with these projects you're washing garbage - it's not worth the effort.

If this happens to you on a project, look over what you've written on the project carefully. Winnow out ideas and snippets that you can use in other projects. Then add this garbage project to a Dump folder on your computer. (Tip - leave the material in the Dump folder, don't discard it entirely. Life being what it is, you may just be able to use most of this project in another project in a year or two.)

Kick-starting A Project - Give A Project A Whole New Start

Kick-starting a stalled project is a lot of fun. Here's how to do it.

* Free write on the project for 20 minutes;

* Circle words and sentences in the free write (at this stage, you don't have to know WHY you're circling the words, just let your instinct be your guide);

* Create a cluster (mind map) diagram from the words and sentences you've circled.

Now you should be able to see how to finish the project, with ease. I've used this process myself for years, and have taught it to many writers. It works. Just follow the process - it's magic.

So there you have it - ways you can complete stalled writing projects. Have fun whizzing through incomplete projects in your archives, and enjoy the instant boost of self-esteem when you complete (or discard) each one.

About the Author

Discover fun and exciting ways to write for money, or for your own pleasure. Angela Booth is a veteran freelance writer and copywriter. She also teaches writing. Visit her blogs - Angela Booth's Writing Blog at http://copywriter.typepad.com/ and Fab Freelance Writing at http://fabfreelancewriting.com/blog/

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