I hate endings. Well, hate isn’t the right word. I just don’t care about them. It’s my big weakness as an editor. I’m obsessed with beginnings. Starting on the right note. Setting the stage. Arranging the world just so. But conclusions? I’m already on to the next beginning.
I’m trying to learn how important endings are. To remember to conclude a story with satisfaction. Wrap up all the threads. Resolve the conflicts. Clear the slate to prepare for the new things. Because, for me, it’s still about moving on. But if your workbench is still cluttered, the dishes undone, flour dusting the floor, wood chips underfoot, the clay lumpy and drying out, you can’t start properly.
So, how to end? Think about the threads. Think about the conflicts. The promises you made, to a reader and to yourself. Ask if those questions have answers. Make sure the ones that don’t were on purpose. End with intention. Be clear. Be decisive. When you close the book on the year, do it with resolution.
We think of New Year’s Day as a time of resolution. We resolve to do a thing in the coming months. But I think that’s backwards. We actually start with intention. But we end with resolution. Even if we weren’t consistent in our practice, we can resolve the dangling threads. We can reconsider our intentions from the past year. Look back on antagonists in our lives and plan for their return. Look back on the arc of our growth, our journeys through conflict, through calls to adventure. Think about mentors we met, thresholds we crossed.
Writing is about living. We say “write what you know” and people think that means, write about the town you live in. That we should recreate the conditions of our lives. But write what you know is deeper than that. Your lived experience infuses every word you put on the page. Your voice, your rhythms, your obsessions drive your creative works. Live with intention so you can write with intention.
End your year with resolve. Wipe the slate clean. Scrub that weird gunk off your stovetop. Wipe down the counters. Shelve the books stacked haphazardly. Take a toothbrush to the grout. Sweep the floors. Sharpen your pencils. Set up your bullet journal, fill out your planner.
Then begin with intent.