Are You a Starter or a Finisher?

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This simple question really made me think. I had never thought of myself as either a starter or a finisher—until last week. During the Blogging Your Passion webinar I’m taking (which is fabulous, by the way), one of the hosts, Jonathan Milligan, described himself as a starter, not a finisher.

Somehow, the description resonated inside me, in a big, uncomfortable, gee-I-might-have-to-change way. I will admit I am most definitely a starter, as those who know me will attest. I love to try new things, see new places, eat new food, meet new people, start new projects…

…and that’s where I get into trouble. I often leap first and scramble for a plan in midair. Or worse, I wing it without one and then halfway through the home improvement or writing or (fill in the blank) project I hit a small snag—or a really big unmovable boulder—and give up in frustration. Then, of course, I start something new and the crazy cycle starts all over again. Eventually, my life is littered with half-finished projects. Or worse, with things that seemed like a really good idea at the time.

It’s sort of like this:

Florida alligator

Captain Virgina and me

We wrestled him into submission…now what are we going to do with him???

Florida alligator

Now what?

Ok, we obviously didn’t trap this gator—I’m not tangling with one of these bad boys! He was prepping for his starring role in a nature program video shoot and we were having a bit of fun.

Whatever you’re working on, and whether you’re a starter or a finisher, make a plan and dive in. Then just keep swimming and swimming and swimming…you’ll get there eventually.

I’m taking my own advice by putting the blogging knowledge I’m gaining in my class to good use. So if you visit my site next time and things are a little funky-looking, know I’m trying to get my new-and-improved blog FINISHED and tweaked. I hope you’ll come back to see how it looks and give me your feedback.

So, are you a starter or a finisher? How do you stay on course? I’d love to hear from you.

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    The Conversation

  1. beth trissel says:

    Wow, what great pics. Good question, and one I also struggle with. I’m getting a little better at thinking things through.

  2. Jamie says:

    Hmmmm…definitely a starter. But, my dad was known to tap his finger at the side of my dinner plate patiently reminding me to finish. I try to remember that, to limit the starting and increase my ability to close the deal.

  3. Dee Gatrell says:

    I’ll try to take your advice, Cpt Connie. But please don’t get so close to gators–if they are alive!

  4. Mary Ricksen says:

    I am definitely a starter and a procrastinator! A terrible combination huh!!!

  5. Mary – I have the same combination! My new strategy with writing is simply to get to the next 1000. If I finish writing at 7,200 or 7,800 words my goal is to get to 8,000. If I do more it’s a bonus. So far it’s working well and keeping me going – hopefully to the end. I have enough half-finished manuscripts cluttering up my house! Thanks for a great post, Connie. I’m looking forward to see how you tweak your blog. 🙂

  6. Celia Yeary says:

    Connie–a Finisher. All in good time. So far, I’ve often had 2-3 WIPs going at once, but finally concentrate on one. The other two? They may lanquish, but I do get back to them and finish.I always like to see that halfway mark–the middle of the story where the climax builds. But often this is the difficult part…isn’t it for all authors? I don’t know.
    Good topic–food for thought. Celia

    • Connie Mann says:

      Celia–good for you. I salute your stamina and stick-to-it-iveness. 🙂 I don’t think I’ve met an author yet who didn’t hate the dreaded sagging middle. Way to get those stories done!

  7. Leslie Santamaria says:

    Connie, Can I admit I’m a little of both? When my husband and I work together, I’m mainly the finisher–brainstorming with hubby at the beginning, working alongside in the middle, but definitely doing the last 20% of the work to closeout the project. In writing, I’m full of ideas and energy in the beginning and strong bringing a mostly-complete (aka, all the major problems are solved) novel through revision. But in the middle…oh boy…I can procrastinate a long time avoiding the hard brain work of that murky middle!

    • Connie Mann says:

      Hi Leslie–Interesting that you function differently when you’re working as a team, versus working solo. I know all about getting bogged down in the depths of the murky middle! And I know how much it helps when you push me to keep going, too! Here’s to forging ahead!

  8. Nancy Cohen says:

    I am a finisher. After my initial character development and research, I’ll write a synopsis that acts as my writing guideline. Then I begin a schedule with a daily writing quote of 5 pages a day or 25 pages per week. I stick to this until the finish. Then I need about a month for line editing, followed by another two weeks for a final read-through. The trick is to set yourself a daily or weekly goal and stay with it to the finish line.

    • Connie Mann says:

      Nancy, I am in awe of your ability to set a pace and follow it through to the end. I do well with daily word counts when I’m writing the first draft, but getting to that point–and finishing up after…much harder. Good to know it IS possible. Thanks for the suggestions!