When I first came out of the closet with my writing, I became curious about the lexical concepts and terms synonymous with writers. Immersing myself in the logia of the writing community, I soon became proficient enough to comprehend some of the lingo bingo.
One of my all-time favorites, the WIP (Work in Progress), used chiefly in business and financial contexts has become a household term for writers to describe the levels and stages of their work. No matter who I talk to, no matter how successful, one thing remains universal for anyone who’s ever picked up the pen to scribble ideas on the page. Writers, like our creative works, are also a work in progress. For some of us it’s simply achieving the big firsts. That could simply mean publishing an article, a poem, or short story for an anthology. Others may set off on a path due course toward self-publishing longer works or mark their trail with breadcrumbs toward traditional publishing. No matter what your state or stature in the business, we all must don a pair of bootstraps made to fit our lives, our goals, and our unique situation to help us take those WIPs across the finish line.
Career writers tend to have a smorgasbord of projects that swell up in their mind all the time. Some are worthy of the page, destined to reach an audience, while others may only turn into a few pages or chapters. But the best possible scenario is when a WIP that was once a daunting exercise of massaging a fuzzy idea becomes the breath of life toward something worth pursuing. Many of us can attest to shelving WIPs after a dozen revisions because we, or others felt the work wasn’t ready to meet the light of day. Those are the ones that haunt us most, but more often than not, this is the work within the WIP that brings us closer toward our writing goals. Perhaps if we liken deferred WIPs to dark chocolate truffles, we might see them in a different light. A light where the only place for them is up on the highest shelf. Up and away from our focus so we can reclaim our thoughts and tame the shrew of patience, willpower and grace to move where we want to go.
Perhaps we would do well to choose to look at those stubborn WIPs with ‘Author Unknown’ eyes.
“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.”
For a writer, every word counts. Even the ones you release and let go. Your mind is a traveling circus of ideas. Each idea, in words spun like straw, can be made into gold. The key is to remember the Why of the WIP. Why you come to the page to create. What it would mean if you quit. Stay the course, and while you let some dreams go, prepare for your WIP wings to fly!

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