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An Essential Skill - Becoming a Finisher

I was once asked, "What's the most important advice you can give to a new writer?" I was immediately overwhelmed with a mental list of options, all competing for the "most important" category. Advice to writers is an unending list of options. But "most important" was a struggle for me. I fumbled around and replied with some advice about having blind-dumb faith in your ability to write something someone would want to read.


But this question kept rattling around in my head. As luck would have it, I ran into an old friend and colleague – Jack Sowards, writer of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn and Star Trek: The Next Generation, to name only a couple of his credits. I asked Jack, "If you could only give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?" Without even a pause, he answered: "Become a finisher."


He went on to expand on his recommendation. He said the temptation to abandon a difficult project for something that comes to mind and appears to show more promise is a writer's trap we all experience. He also said that the most important lesson he learned was taking a terrible idea, sticking with it, and turning it into something worthy of someone's time is one of the best confidence builders a writer can experience. "Once you take a dog and turn it into a winning manuscript, you know that you can forever fix/finish anything you will ever write."


Nothing matters if you are not a consistent finisher. No other skill, talent, or secret technique will be a substitute for finishing. If you don't finish, no one will read it.