Essay titles are rarely in short supply. Practically every day has a surfeit of topics to explore. The temptation to write is difficult to resist.
In typical human nature, I do give in to some of the seduction. And begin writing. Develop the story. Research a few facts here, cross-check some elsewhere. At times, I will finish a piece, only to notice upon revision that it could still read better. That is the challenge and joy of writing; ever experimenting with words to see which ones work best. I call them finishing touches. They could be by way of infusing other relevant and more authoritative voices into the story, giving it more flesh or simply brushing it up.
Besides the “finished” installments, appear clearly unfinished projects. Those that give the impression that my attention was called elsewhere. And that does happen quite often. I could be in the middle of a story when I receive important mail which demands that I read and respond to it post haste. Or else, after a given deadline, my response will simply be an academic exercise.
I call the unfinished stories “works in progress!” Having read several illuminating submissions by both established and new writers, I have got to know (and derive comfort?) in this monster called “writer’s block.” Jeff Goins is one of my indefatigable mentors. In a most helpful and revealing piece on writer’s block, he says,
It happens to every writer. It’s inevitable. Your prose has turned to mush, you don’t have a creative base left in your body, and you want to throw in the towel. Writer’s block. Every writer struggles with it. But what you do with it is what really matters.” (accessed on How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 14 Tricks That Work at https://goinswriter.com)
Ha, I rather like the other name he gives to writer’s block. It is clearly designed to goad people into action. He calls it “creative constipation.” I do not need to dwell on how uncomfortable constipation can be. All I can say is I fully understand his desire to see people seriously get on with their work.