We all have it. That one project that just refuses to be finished. After all of your hard work and the long hours spent at your desk, sometimes your writing just comes to a halt for seemingly no good reason. You’re left staring at the pages of the last few chapters, feeling defeated and burnt out.
Time constraints and the pure pressure of completing a project often the better of writers, causing them to neglect the ending. Whether the key reason is that you’re feeling insecure about your skill, less than confident in your story choices, or crushed by the weight of deciding how to wrap things up, you CAN overcome the roadblock.
To all writers struggling to climb the last obstacle of finishing your story, take a look at these 4 reasons why you might be stuck at the end of your work.
1. You just don’t know how to end things.
Simply put, you don’t know how the piece should end…and you certainly can’t keep writing if you don’t know where you’re going. Writing is an unpredictable craft, always taking new turns and exploring unexpected twists. Even if you started by planning out your whole venture, it’s trajectory has probably changed drastically since you started the first chapter. Start by listing out all of the potential endings and work a little with each one. Try writing down each hypothetical ending, then pick your favorite.
2. You’re ending your story too soon.
Perhaps the ending is eluding you because the plot hasn’t fulfilled its potential. Are you trying to end it prematurely? Go back through your writing so far and look for anything you may have missed or neglected to develop. Are there any problems left unsolved? Any questions left unanswered? After you’ve analyzed your work with a focus on these particular loose ends or unexplored possibilities, your mind will feel freed up to focus on completing the story.
3. You’re not allotting yourself enough time.
Staring at a blank page is undoubtably frustrating, but it’s important not to lose interest and give up too quickly. Once you allow yourself to step away before making any progress, the cycle of “try and fail” begins, which ultimately ends in resenting the whole writing process. So before you lose that motivation and commitment, decide to force yourself to work on your project. Don’t say you’re going to write for an hour, but give up after 10 minutes. Allocate a certain amount of time and stick to it no matter what. Much like your body before a rigorous work out, sometimes all your brain needs is some time to warm up.
4. You no longer love your story.
It’s not uncommon for writers to feel less than happy with their work. Being overly critical of your own work is normal, and unfortunately there are no cures for feeling insecure about something you’ve put so much work into. However, sometimes it may be beneficial to analyze what exactly is bothering you. What is it that just doesn’t seem to be working? Next, figure out how to properly address any issues you come up with. Perhaps your main character has developed an inconsistency that’s driving you crazy. Maybe the plot has taken an unbelievable turn, making you enjoy it less and less. Try to evaluate what may be fueling your doubts. Now recall what first inspired you so much about this project. What excited you the most? If you can remember what first made you happy about your work at the start, you may be able to easily eliminate what’s frustrating you now.