This blog was featured on 07/19/2018
[Reality Check] Whipped by WIPs
Written by
Zetta Brown
July 2018
Written by
Zetta Brown
July 2018

I’m doing something different this year that I started to do late last year.

I have several unfinished WIPs and it bugs me. At this rate, I’ll be in my early nineties before I finish them all—and that’s if I remember what I’m writing about. That is depressing to me.

I’m getting whipped by my WIPs!

Some of my WIPs are ideas that no longer interest me, but I learned the hard way a long time ago that I  shouldn’t toss them out because they may be useful . . . somewhere . . . sometime . . . in the future.

What is my solution? I am going to increase my writing output, shorten my post-production time, and move on to the next. You may have heard of this formula as “Wash. Rinse. Repeat.”

Those three little words carry a huge amount of truth. Instead of spending months and years trying to work on a single WIP, I am going to spend days or weeks on them.  One way (but not the only way) to do this is to produce shorter works, like short stories and novellas.

Those half-finished projects lingering around will get finished sooner and contribute to my sense of accomplishment—which will spur me to continue. My mountain of WIPs will eventually turn into a hole in the ground. I may not produce 50,000 words a month like in NaNoWriMo, but I can try and get as close as possible.

The length of time it takes for you to write something does not equate to the quality of the final product. Speed is not an accurate or guaranteed measure of quality. It can be an indicator—if the writer has little or no skill—but it doesn’t have to be. I know this is true.

The first thing I ever submitted for publishing—and got published—I wrote in a day. I wrote a short story that won me a regional contest and a huge cash prize in a weekend. Another short story that I contributed to an anthology and is also sold as a single title continues to bring in nice sales several years later, and I wrote it in less than a week. How is this possible?

I was inspired to write those stories. I didn’t sweat over them for months or years; I allowed myself to write them quickly and then spend a measure of time editing and proofreading before letting them go.

I believe a story should be as long as it needs to be. My novel Messalina: Devourer of Men started out as a short story, but my characters had more to say, so their story became a novel. But instead of telling myself that a story needs to be longer, I’m going to let the story and characters tell me when they’re done.

With this goal in mind, I am going to have to generate more ideas more frequently and step up my game.

I know I can write. I know I can edit. But I’m not so vain and stupid to believe that I know it all and have no room for improvement. I know there are aspects of my writing that I want to improve and/or try.

So, to that end, on my other blog, Zetta’s Desk, where I post editing tips, I am starting a new feature.

Once a week I am going to feature my favorite writing reference books and the favorite references of my guest bloggers. For lack of a better name, I’m calling it “Zetta’s Reference Desk.”

My first reference book is being featured now.

I invite you to visit (and follow) my blog.  I want to share what works for me and find out what works for others.

I’m also looking for guest bloggers for [REALITY CHECK] and “Zetta’s Reference Desk” spots, so if you are interested, please friend me here at She Writes and message me for more details.


©2015. Zetta Brown is an editor and the author of several published short stories and the erotic romance novel Messalina: Devourer of Men. She also provides editing services through

If you like this post, then stop by Zetta’s Desk for editing tips and “Zetta’s Reference Desk” where she features a writing reference book every week.


* This post was originally published in January 2015.

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  • Zetta Brown

    Thanks, Cate! No, I haven't heard of that book before, but I'm gonna get it! I'm open to things to help me be more productive and keep inspired. I'm actually wrapping up a WIP that I started in October and wanted to have done by December. Better late than never, I guess!

  • Zetta Brown

    Hi Cate!

    I want to keep the term "reference book" broad, otherwise, people will only think dictionaries and encyclopedias apply. I think it's because that's all we had when we were in school. But any book that helps with regard to the craft of writing applies.

    Thanks for bookmarking "Zetta's Desk!" There will be a new post tomorrow (Wednesday, January 21) and I got several guests lined up for future posts. I'm also going through my personal library to come up with my recommendations. :)

  • Zetta Brown

    Thanks, Catherine! Send me a friend request through my She Writes profile, and I'll send you the details.

  • Catharine Bramkamp

    I'd love to contribute to your blog!  I produce a weekly podcast - Newbie Writers Podcast, maybe we can exchange information - I'll write for you and you can be a guest on my show!