An easy bad habit to fall into as a writer is not finishing what you start. On the whole, I do decently at staying out of that particular trap. But at the moment, I'm feeling like I've let a few too many unfinished things pile up. I've got a half-dozen or so stories that I've finished drafts of but never gotten to a point that I was happy enough with to kick out the door. I've got a novelette that I received beta reader feedback on that I really need to get working on the next draft of since one of the people who will be reading my next draft of it is working with a small time window. I've got two beginnings to stories that I wrote over Memorial Day weekend when I was too brain-fried to do anything other than work from a blank page. And I've got an idea I love and am dying to work on where all I have are a few notes in an email.
That's a whole lot of things that need attention. The only way I'm going to be able to get through them, though, is to chip away at the stack a bit at a time. Even with having a revising-party day in the near future, there's no way I can tackle all of those things at once.
When I've got a whole pile of stuff to deal with like this, in any area of my life, the best thing I can do is prioritize the items inside it.
The only one of these that has any time urgency is revising the novelette. I told a fellow writer that I'd send him a new draft by the end of the weekend so he could review it when he thought he would be most likely to have time. So that moves to the top of the pile. After that, somewhat contrary to what might be considered a best practice, I plan to write the brand new story idea that I have the email notes on. There may be a small element here of chasing the new "shiny" thing, but I've already let it sit for several days while I worked on more urgent tasks. So I don't feel completely as if I'm being flighty in my decision making here. It's a story that I think has a chance to turn out really well, playing to some of my strengths as a writer and drawing from some of my own recent life experiences. So once I get the novelette revised, I'll work on that.
With the revising day in early July, if I have time between finishing the newest story and the revising day, I'll circle back to the two pieces I started Memorial Day weekend. Both are ones I'd like to return to but I'm also not feeling "Oh my gosh I have to write these Right. Now." about them either. And I've put little enough work into either of them so far that if they stay fragments for now, I won't be that irritated at having set aside a small chunk of work.
Then revising day will come around and I'll pick two or three stories to get ready for their next step (either critique or market submission, depending on where they stand right now). At that point I'll probably still have a few loose ends, but I should have a lot fewer than I have now. If I can get the decks good and cleared, maybe I'll "treat" myself with a challenge in July or August to write, polish, and submit several new stories.
Do you have trouble finishing what you start? Are there a lot of unfinished stories on your hard drive? If so, how do they make you feel? Do they bother you or is having pieces of stories set aside which you expect to come back to "some day" simply part of your own personal writing process?