The abandonment of a draft is inconceivable to me, for it’s like abandoning a piece of myself; where this fear can even lead me towards obsessiveness. I don’t want to tuck away an idea that birthed out of my mind under piles of sheets and notebooks, to forget it in a dark corner, or even for that piece to remain untouched or unopened in the word processor. I want it to have a life, to have a chance to become concrete, to be touched by the heart and mind of others. Isn’t existence filled with objects, things, creatures, and beings that had the chance to exist, a chance to form part of reality? I know that I might seem too fanciful here while describing my fear of abandoning a piece of writing; but you know, creatively speaking about something isn’t at all superlative.
Thus, I try as much as possible to not let unfinished writings sit for too long in my notebooks and word processor; I always try my best to finish them, to give them a life, to embellish them with the needed words so as for them to exist in the dimension of books and blogs. I think that’s why my mind is constantly busy with thinking and imagining, always trying to envision how the story unwinds. My head is a busy corner, an ant hill.
Due to my fear of putting away an idea, a draft, or a piece of unfinished writing, I take time to create content, for I am unable to move on to another piece, to come up with the next story, poem, or blog post, not until I have finished the writing at hand.
I made it a rule of thumb to finish what I have started, and this even though another idea arises in my mind, tempting me to abandon the work at hand. I try as much as possible to resist the urge to move on to the next writing project, because that next idea might as well remain in an unfinished state, and in the end, everything that I would ever get, is, an accumulation of unfinished drafts.
I won’t tell you that my notebooks and online documents aren’t filled with unfinished writings, of scribbles scattered here and there, of jotted down words that beg to become sentences, of writings that I am too lazy to edit – nope, but most of them will form part of a bigger writing project, or will end up on this blog, or even as pieces added to my stories and poems. They are all mapped in my head and online files, and when needed, all that I will have to do is retrieve them.
I prefer let something die in me instead of birthing it out from my mind to then afterwards let it in a state of abandonment; to toss it away and and let it die, to forget it, for, they come to haunt my dreams, insert themselves in my daydreams, and I just can’t stop thinking about them; they constantly arise in my mind. Thus the principle I’ve imposed on myself: to always finish what I have started, and this, no matter how hard it might be, or even, how much I want to work on another writing project.
I have to constantly remind myself that it’s easy to imagine things and stories; but that to be able to concretize an abstract idea that only me can envision, and to unwind stories, poems, and my thoughts logically, in the universal language that most of us understand, I have to do the hard work of weaving my words together in a comprehensive and beautiful way. And it’s the fact that I have to go through the pain of all these re-writings that makes me want to abandon a draft that I have enthusiastically written; but then, it always happen that during the process of re-writings and re-edits, which I always think will be boring and not at all exciting for my mind, something else happens – that piece of writing always take a new shape, there is always a new passage that unfolds, which is always different from what I’ve imagined it to be. That’s how I always convince myself to finish the work, knowingly that I will end up with a different copy than that of my first draft, which in itself is a great reward for the reader that I am.
If I had abandoned my writings, today I wouldn’t have written two books (well, though one is still at the unpublished state and the other had to be unpublished because it was filled with errors… but soon I’ll rectify everything), one of my short stories wouldn’t have been published in an anthology, and this blog would have been empty. To me, every single word, thought, sentence that comes out from my mind are worthy of being concretized and seen and read by other minds than mine – that is to say, to expand the field of this reality, while making it a little bit understandable, a little bit less boring, saved from the hands of abandonment.
PS: as I am still learning the skill of editing effectively my own writings, all constructive criticism about this post are welcomed.