Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Finish Your Milk

By Connie S. Hall

Do you remember your parents saying, “Finish your milk”? Or, did they say, “You can’t leave the table until you eat your vegetables”? My mom and dad did that a lot. My brother and I can still remember sitting at the table all Sunday afternoon because we wouldn’t eat our beets. I still hate them–not my parents, but the beets. I think I also did the same thing with my own children (I didn’t make them eat their beets because we didn’t have them, I mean the part about telling them to eat their vegetables or else).

Finishing reminds me of writing. Actually almost everything reminds me of writing, and I have several ideas about finishing.

One thing I have trouble with is finishing my thoughts or telling the complete story. Have you ever written a scene that you knew in your mind, but you didn’t explain it clear to the reader? If you don’t paint a clear picture, the reader can never visualize the scene. Things may be clear in your mind, but the reader can only read what’s on the paper. They cannot read what’s in your mind.

Following is a list of things I have read that have helped me...
1. Make writing a priority and arrange your schedule around your writing. I actually have told people I’m busy when it’s my writing time.
2. Set a certain time each day to write. Since I work, I chose to write between swimming and dinner. Two days a week, I do errands and three days a week, I write. Actually, I cheat and slip into my computer anytime I have a free minute.
3. Remove all distractions while you write. For me this is easy because my computer is in the far end of the house where I can’t hear the television. If I keep my office clean then I don’t get distracted.
4. Don’t answer the telephone. That one was hard for me at first, but after realizing how many solicitors called, it became easy to ignore the ringing, and let the answering machine do its job.
5. Write when no one else is at home. This works the best for me. Although my husband tries hard to not disturb me, he always does.
6. Decide to finish your story. The only thing standing in the way is you.

How many of you have notebooks of incomplete stories? Why aren’t they finished? I have found that when I leave stories unfinished they linger in my mind. I’ve spent many a sleepless night with stories roaming around in my head the entire night.

My father taught me to finish what I start. He also told me that I shouldn't give up when times are tough, and I shouldn't make excuses–just do it. Dad has been gone many years now, but I still try to follow his advice because he was a wise man. I guess I better get busy and finish my milk (stories).

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