On Writing

Fragments of My Mind: The Muse Dilemma

So here I sit with the fragments of four great ideas and as a result four unfinished projects. At this point, I see them taunting me.

“Come on. Finish me. I dare ya.”

Honestly, one only needs a rewrite. Only needs a rewrite. Like that is something I want to do. Coming up with the idea was one thing. Actually having to get down and dirty for the rewrite is a whole other matter.

Another project has morphed into a mess. I allowed the pantser in me to bash the plotter over the head. And of course, I now have two fairly good ideas. Only, I started with one and I don’t have the energy to sort it out.


Does my pondering sound familiar?

Likely, it does if you are the type of writer who has a pretty good knack at creating fragments of great ideas but a fairly rotten track record for getting anything done. As Ali Luke, writer and coach, asked a few years ago, “Do you have a bunch of first chapters tucked away in a drawer – for seven different novels?” [footnote]1[/footnote]

And so it goes. The Muse Dilemma, or How I Managed to Let a Bunch of Good Ideas Become a Pile of ****.

Luke offers up some good ideas. Namely, finish something. He suggests taking that small, short story and giving it a crack. You’ll feel better and likely it won’t take too long. Maybe a day or two.

Which reminds me: Derek Haines on his blog, Just Publishing Advice, [footnote]2[/footnote] did a little word count of the Top 20 Bestsellers in the Kindle format. He found that the majority of these books were around 20,000 words. Not the 100,000 of a typical novel, but 20,000 words of a typical novella. I got to thinking that if I wrote 1,000 words a day, I could have a Kindle bestseller in 20 days. A book each month without trying.

Back to finishing what I started. Taking the advice of Mr. Haines and combining his advice with Mr. Luke’s and likely I could actually finish one project and then move on to the next. Now to start on that 1,000 words.

What do you do to make sure you finish? Do you treat your writing as a job? Or do you struggle with the creative muse? Leave a comment below.


  1. How to Finish What You Start: A Five-Step Plan for Writers
  2. Why Do Short Ebooks Sell So Well?
  3. “Broken Pencil” Courtesy of Pixabay 


© 2016, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.

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