Are You an Opener or a Finisher?

Unknown3I read an article recently that described openers and finishers. I had never really thought about it, though if I had to identify with one of the two, it would definitely be finisher.

An opener is someone with grand ideas, too many grand ideas. They get bogged down and jump back and forth between projects, never to finish one, or they allow themselves to become discouraged and quit before crossing the finish line.

A finisher as you may have all ready guessed, finishes what they start. They primarily stick to one project at a time and move at a slow consistent pace until they have completed their work or met their goal.

When I read this article, I couldn’t help but think about ‘The Tortoise and The Hare’.  The Hare was enthusiastic and fast but he allowed distractions(other projects for my analogy) to get in his way, and he looked for shortcuts to help him catch back up. Of course, we all know how that went.

The Tortoise on the other hand, stood at the starting line with one thing in mind, finishing the race. He didn’t try to take any shortcuts(which could result in inferior work). He was in for the long haul. He wasn’t giving up.

Since my adventure began five years ago, I have read numerous stories from well known authors about their journeys to becoming published.  The one common theme in all of their stories was perseverance. I put so much time and effort into my craft, I can’t help but feel discouraged at times. It helps and encourages me to know that I am not alone but in great company.

If you have a high quality, marketable piece of work, persevere and you will eventually find an agent and get published. Kathryn Stockett wrote, ‘The Help’ over a five year period of time, then had three and a half years worth of rejections-60 in all. It was agent number 61 who took her on. The book spent 100 weeks on the best seller list.

The agent that took the time to work with me, always ended her critiques with don’t give up.

We all know who won that race. Are you an Opener or a finisher?

-Jan R


Are You an Opener or a Finisher?

7 thoughts on “Are You an Opener or a Finisher?

  1. I think most writers start as openers, since most authors have an entire laundry list of forgotten manuscripts before they finish something. It only gives perspective on how hard it really is to actually sit down and finish something!


  2. Quintessential Editor says:

    Great post! I didn’t know the backstory on Kathryn Stockett, that’s really interesting (and encouraging) information.

    Historically, I’m more of an opener. It’s an issue I’m keenly aware of and combat by building routine habits (i.e. daily blogging, word count goals, milestones). In this way, I hope to be able to absorb the traits of finishers, while still generating lots of ideas and content. I also dump lots of ideas in journals, and burn up some of my creativity by drawing and sketching.

    One benefit of the blog is it allows the “opener” part of my brain to run rampant. On any given day I can generate content toward whatever end I want. If I want to have a medieval themed post on how to write description, I write one. In this way, if my brain starts saying, “Hey Corey, your current book is cool, but wouldn’t it be fun to write some medieval fantasy?” then I can satisfy this craving with the blog and move on.

    Thanks for writing this post today! I always enjoy reading your content.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for an interesting post. I know that in my heart I’m a finisher, but there are times when new and exciting ideas want to queue-jump. I have learned to write them down and put them aside, content in the knowledge that they can be explored further when I’ve finished what I started. Thanks for making me think a little deeper about this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m definitely an opener.
    I have a lot of ideas, but I often have trouble with finding a good plot to carry them from start to finish. I know accomplished writers say to let the story come to you as you write and, while I like this tip as it’s pretty much saying “you dont have to have everything sorted / don’t force it”, it can also be somewhat nerve-wracking for me to not have a concrete plan before I start. (I’m also speaking as a former masters student, where I preferred to have projects planned out to make the process more fluid.) One thing I do is let moments if inspiration, ideas for parts of a book, come to me as the weeks pass while writing, and then I stitch them together (using a notebook). So, I’m taking my time with my ‘opening’ and letting the ‘finish’ come to me on its own time.

    Good post, very helpful and insightful. And, good finish! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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