I love that picture. It’s gripping, isn’t it? The caption would be powerful all by itself, but seeing blood dripping down the side of her face and deep, red bruises on her legs really drives home the point: she was in pain, but she finished.

She could have rolled off the track, accepting ice-packs and bandages. She would have been consoled by her coach and her friends. No one would have blamed her for giving up. In fact, no one would have even called it “giving up”. When you’re trampled in the middle of a race, that’s life saying, “Fuck you.” Throwing in the towel that day and deciding there will be other races wouldn’t have been quitting. To most of us, it would have been dealing with reality, pure and simple.

But she roared at reality and got back on her feet.

Honestly, it wouldn’t even matter she’d hadn’t placed. Just finishing was a triumph. The fact that she won third is icing on the cake.

But that’s how it is in life. Starting a race is rarely hard. It’s finishing it that’s the challenge.

Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 different publishers. Rowling was rejected 12 times before someone took a chance on the first Harry Potter book. But a dozen rejections doesn’t seem all that bad, given that she’s since made billions, does it? Okay. Louis L’Amour was turned down over 200 times before finding a publisher. One of my favorite authors, Jim Butcher, sought an agent for more than 2 year before finding one.

My point? Starting a novel isn’t the hard part.

The first finish line is simply completing your work. Writing a book, even the first draft, is a huge undertaking. Editing it and sifting through a second, and possibly third draft is herculean. The process of finding an agent and a publisher ought to be considered a form of torture, from what I’ve read. (I haven’t made it that far yet, myself.)

In the world of writing, there’s no such thing as a clean race. Writing is always hard work, and there will be plenty of reasons to put your manuscript to the side and move on to other things. Reasons good enough that no one will accuse you of quitting.

Wherever you are in the writing process, press on.

Don’t give in to that all-too-reasonable voice that calmly explains why you should stop writing. Instead, with blood on your forehead and bruises covering your body, get back on your feet and get your ass to the finish line.

And remember, it’s not about placing. It’s about finishing, you can do it.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

8 Responses to finishing

  1. Like this so much, I read it twice.


  2. Yes! This! Sharing everywhere. Not just for writing- for following any dream, for getting through any tough time. Thank you so much for sharing.



  3. This stopped my “everything I write is crap and I should find something else to do” rant in its tracks. Thank you!


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