We hear a lot about the challenges of starting a piece of writing, but what about the business of wrapping it up?
We worry about sending out a piece prematurely, but we also worry about overworking it until we’ve zapped it of all originality and spark. We know that no single work of short nonfiction can contain the universe, but we fear omitting something important. Where’s the balance and how can we recognize it before we click Submit? There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but we can build an awareness of what completion looks like when we see it—keeping in mind that a piece of writing is never finished until the writer and editor collaborate on the final draft.
Since every writer is different, any signposts along the path to completion involves a writer’s own processes. Students will perform a self-analysis of their habits around drafting, revising, and seeking feedback, with a focus on the different phases of expansion and contraction in the life of a personal or researched essay, or a short memoir or creative nonfiction piece. Together we’ll brainstorm ways to confidently bring our work to completion. We’ll end the course with a set of finishing touches that participants can make part of their routines, as well as tips on how to let go when the time is right.
DANIEL ALLEN COX is the author of I Felt the End Before It Came: Memoirs of a Queer Ex-Jehovah’s Witness, and four novels nominated for the Lambda Literary, Ferro-Grumley, and ReLit awards.