When You’re Done, You’re Done

I’m not sure if it’s because writers love to write or if it’s because once they’re on a roll, it’s so hard to stop, but for whatever reason, many writers don’t stop writing when they’re done.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about ending whatever piece you’re writing when you’ve accomplished what you set out to do.

Are you writing a mystery and your protagonist solved it? Guess what? You’re done!

Are you writing a curriculum/textbook/instructional piece and you’ve explained the concepts, the how-to? Guess what? You’re done!

Are you writing a memoir and you’ve laid out all the memorable points in your life? Guess what? You’re done!

Well, you get the idea. Have a purpose for your writing and when you’ve accomplished that purpose, end the piece.

My parents owned their own business and my aunts and uncles were all farmers. Growing up, I had one foot in the city and one in the country. One thing I noticed about my country relatives is how hard it was to say good-bye.

We’d head for the door and they’d walk with us, telling us how much they enjoyed our visit.

We’d get out the door and head for the car and they’d follow us, reminding us we didn’t come often enough and should plan to come back real soon.

We’d get in the car and roll down the windows as they stood close to the car, smiled at us, and told us to have a safe trip home.

We’d turn our car around in the driveway and they’d smile some more and wave a big country wave.

We never saw them turn and go inside because we were down the road before that happened.

Here in Minnesota, those good-byes could be challenging in the winter months. But that’s how it was every visit. I don’t offer the story as criticism. I loved the ritual. But not everyone in the car did.

How long does it take you to say good-bye to your reader? Not every reader wants the long good-bye ritual. When you’ve accomplished what you set out to do with your writing, write the ending and let your reader go. It will serve you well.

Happy writing!

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1 Response to “When You’re Done, You’re Done”


  1. 1 Julie September 24, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Hahahaha–just what I needed to read. Thank you!


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