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It's a snowy day here in the Pacific Northwest, school has been canceled due to the weather, the kids are ecstatic, and I'll do what I can in the way of work today. So: we're in the second week of the daily writing tips, and today's tip is...

8.     Finish it. Unless you absolutely don’t care about it.

Finish that story! This is important! Exception: if you really, honestly don’t even like it anymore and don’t care if it ever gets finished, then go start writing something you do care about. But if you want to see the work in progress get completed, then finish it. The first draft doesn’t have to be awesome; in fact, it almost never is. You can fix it later, and anyway you’ll learn what the beginning needs (and probably the middle too) only by writing the end. This is one of those weird and annoying truths about the creation of fiction.

I also hate to tell you this, but even finishing the draft doesn’t mean you’re close to having a complete draft that’s ready for publishing. There have been more times than I want to think about where I’ve written an entire book, then looked it over with honesty, and realized I basically had to rewrite the whole damn thing if it was going to be good enough for the rest of the world to read. But that’s okay too! The writing of the substandard first draft still did its part in helping me learn what the book needed, and it definitely counted as writing practice in general.

Also, hey, I don’t know the actual stats on this, nor how we would ever get those stats, but what they keep telling is that if you finish a full draft of a novel, you’re ahead of the vast majority of people who attempt to write one and abandon it partway through. I could believe that. So yes: be one of the outliers. (Unless you seriously don’t care. Then move on to something else. But eventually, finish something.)

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