Two and ten. Two books and ten other writing drafts. That is what my drafts folder looks like. Words gathered together in sentences paragraphs and half formed ideas. Things I am working on; words I am writing.
I wrote about starting ugly, about the need to simply begin and let the start be raw, undefined, and messy. While this is true, it’s also only the beginning of writing. There comes a point where I have to stop gathering words, stop capturing ideas, stop having drafts. There comes a point where I have to take a draft of a gathering of words and push it into the public. There comes a point when I have to finish something. There is a discipline involved in finishing. It takes effort, sweat, tears, time, and focus to finish something. It doesn’t just happen. I have to show up, put in the effort, and build these posts, books, projects untill they are complete.
The habit of building isn’t just about the drafts either. The more I push, pull, drag, and throw across the finish line, the more I complete the draft, the more my voice gets built. Every time I practice the craft/art of writing in public, I am building my body of work, my way of communication, my focus, my platform. Every time I finish a draft, I am adding to my life as a writer. Every time I share what I have written, I am building my identity as a writer. Every time I do more than just gather words and ideas, every time I publish something, every time I finish, I build.
Building is hard work. It is a discipline. If I am going to be a writer, the habit of building, of finishing, well it’s just as important as starting. There has to be a good flow. Otherwise the numbers in my draft folder just keeps getting higher and higher; I’ll just keep gathering words and never really doing something with them.
So, today I commit to being a writer by finishing. Do the work until the draft is done. Show up, work at it, and have something to finish every day. It sounds hard, and it may be. But these are the efforts of a writer, the habits of an artist, the showing up to practice in public. This is how I build my life, my craft, my art.
Two and ten now becomes two and nine… because I am building.