Old Unfinished Story? Here’s what to do with it.

Fishie & FroggieDON’T TOUCH IT!

So you like to write?

“La la la la,” you skip along and go about your daily business. Hmmm, you think. I have an idea for a great story! So you sit down and start typing.

    “Once upon a time there lived a green little frog that was in love with an orange little goldfish…”

You get a page or two in, but get distracted. You wonder what’s on TV. You go out and meet some friends. Your stomach growls. It’s bedtime.

Your cute little story about a cute little froggie and cute little fishy gets forgotten.

You think about your amfishbian (amphibian +fish?) romance from time to time, but it just sits on your computer in a lost folder and nothing ever happens to it.

Okay, maybe you don’t write about fish and frogs. Maybe you write about boots and socks? Clouds and caves? Peanuts and pickles? Regardless, you have that writing project that hasn’t been touched in months.

You probably have a dozen of these such untouched stories. I have DOZENS! But here’s the deal…


Think of it like this. If you’re really passionate about the story you started, you’d finish it. You’d think about it all the time. You’d find the time to sit down and flush it out.

Your unfinished story is probably still pretty decent. You started writing about an interesting character or an interesting situation, but leave it be.

“So,” you ask,  “what do I do with all these unfinished stories?”


If you’re like me, you write all the time. Nearly every day. And if you don’t find time to write, you think about writing. But, leave your unfinished stories be. If you’re not passionate about the plot, it’ll be a hassle to drag it out. Work on something you’re excited about instead.

So why did I shout at you to reread them?


You’ll see how far you’ve come in your writing. You’ll see what didn’t work and why you weren’t passionate about it. You’ll also see what did work! You might be able to use something for a story you are working on.

And what if rereading an old story really reignites your passion for it?


Why try to create new ideas when you’ve already started a whole bunch? Maybe you rediscover how lusciously romantic that frog and fish romance was. You’re rereading it, why not just keep writing it?

This happened to me. I reread an old story I had written last December. Nothing really came of it, but I realized that it had potential. I found refreshed passion to finish it, and guess what?

I JUST GOT IT PUBLISHED! (check it out here)

That’s right! Something I’d thrown away as scrap just turned into money.

But here’s the thing. I still have dozens of other unfinished stories sitting on my computer, and rereading them hasn’t given me any new-found passion. I have however seen how far I’ve come and a few ideas from them have sparked ideas for new stories too.

As always, I encourage you to WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! (yes, yell at yourself in your mind as you read that). But, don’t get hung up on finishing everything you start, but do make sure to reread your old stuff!

Happy writing,

Finished your first manuscript?

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