Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt



Tuesday, March 31, 2009

When you just can't finish something, think about this...

If you’re like me, you start something you are totally gung-ho about and consider a potential masterpiece, get a significant part of it done, then…

You just stop.

No matter how long you stare at it, think about it or wait for that flicker of something to help you continue with it, you just can’t do anything...


but stop.

The reasons can be writer’s block, loss of inspiration, or you thinking what you’ve produced is pure crap. This thing you were once so gung-ho about then gets put away, forgotten until you’re doing some spring cleaning and you come across it after all emotion you felt about it, whether it be love or hatred, is gone. You're now neutral, discovering something new.

The way it goes for me is I am looking through old files on my computer, find something I wrote, but never finished, read it and think to myself “HEY! I’m a damn good writer!” I then shake my head at this unfinished piece and attempt to finish it. I have yet to finish such unfinished pieces.

I generally feel like a failure for my inability to finish some of what I’ve started, but I still have hope I will finish one of these days. If I don’t, I shouldn’t feel too bad… Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony,” though its title refers to exactly what it is, is one of his best works, his masterpiece.

Though he died at just 31 years old in November 1828, Franz Schubert had written what he’d written of his unfinished symphony six years before his death and abandoned it for unknown reasons, though some speculate that Schubert left this symphony unfinished because of meter—it was different from the usual used by Viennese composers. Schubert apparently didn’t think too highly of innovation. Then again, he pretty much did most of his work without recognition until years after his death. Now Schubert is one of the greats.

Think about that the next time you’re not so sure about what you’re doing…

1 comment:

Elisabeth said...

When John Patrick Shanley came and talked to us at CU, he mentioned this as being an intentional part of the writing process. You can think of it that way, instead of looking at yourself as a failure! He said it was essential to put the piece away for like 6 months and then return to it (as neutral as possible) to rewrite, finish, rework.

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