I have a fear of unfinished projects.
It could have started with a rather ambitious project that, in hindsight, turned into a traumatic event. I was four years old when my mother discovered that all of her feminine napkins disappeared. Two packages, which she discovered an hour later in tatters, cut into various shapes.
“What is this?” she gasped. “Did you do it?”
“I am making an airplane,” I explained. It made sense to me. The feminine napkins had one side colored a lovely pink, which I thought made perfect, lovely, fluffy seats.
“You are making what? With what?” she said. Actually, she screamed.
I never made that airplane. My mother’s yelling knocked the air out from beneath my wings.
Many other creative bursts that went nowhere followed. At the age of twelve, filled with nascent romantic notions, a friend who lived about a five minute walk away wound up staying until midnight as we feverishly “made a book” using pop song lyrics and magazine cutouts for each page. It was so much fun she forgot to call her parents and let them know where she was. We vowed to continue our book the next day, and she again forgot to tell me that her parents grounded her when she appeared at the door so many hours after they alarmed everyone they knew including the police. That book of romantic song lyrics was never finished.
I had creative bursts that left feverishly begun and then abandoned projects throughout my teens and twenties. I was twenty-eight before I figured how to work.
For me, it entailed a solemn vow to not begin something until I finished the last thing.
When writing, “finishing” is never final and done. But to me it means the first draft is written, then a second draft, and then at least one beta reader gave feedback and I revised again. That makes three drafts. After that, a story may sit in the digital drawer or go on to many drafts and revisions. But every manuscript, short or long, will include a typed last line, THE END.