I’m back where I started.

Staring down the bumpy road of an unfinished draft.

My next novel – the big, fat manuscript that my agent says doesn’t work (which, by the way, I didn’t update you on, dear reader, after informing you I’d sent it, my ego too bruised, I suppose. Instead, I got on with it and finished a different novel.)

There are (maybe) too many storylines and (quite possibly) too much backstory and (perhaps) a couple of characters who need to be killed off.

Right now I’m not sure. What I do know, though, is that a) it’s still alive and b) I need to return to it. So, I’m making plans. The new year rises before us, meant for fresh starts (while carrying all the wisdom we’ve earned from the past year), and I’m thinking about a bit of advice my mom’s offered throughout my life.

It comes from the time my dad was thinking about going back to school, to university, bemoaning the age he’d be when he graduated. “How old will you be if you don’t go?” she replied.

Point taken.

Whenever I’m dawdling, resisting a project I know I need to get to, I think of these words. How old will I be in the spring if I don’t go back to my novel? If I avoid carving ‘finishing’ time into my mornings? How much time will I have wasted? What will I have to show for it?

Regardless of our actions, the days pass, and pretty soon – if we don’t do what we know we need to – we wake up full of regret.

I know. I’ve been there. I’ve lost chances. And what I’ve learned (what I learn, over and over) is that the only thing that can fix this is me, is my commitment to making – as the I-Ching says – energetic progress towards the good.

So, starting in January, I’ll be making this commitment – and challenging you to do it with me.

I’ll be working on finishing my own frustrating and overwhelming novel along with those of you who’ve signed up to join me and nine other writers in my 10-person course, Fearless Finishing. I know I’ve been talking about it a lot (I’m excited!), but if you don’t yet know, it’s a six-week program designed to help writers re-enter their waylaid, neglected or just plain hard drafts and finally finish.

At the same time as I’m teaching you the processes, techniques and routines that I had to learn, that bolstered me through the completion stages of Swarm, Following Sea (a ‘finishing’ that’s happening right now), the novel that’s now out on submission, lots of short stories, and this next book (the toughest, most perplexing story I’ve faced), I’ll be leaning on these practices once again.

Together, through weekly live video calls, engaging lessons, one-on-one coaching sessions, an email ‘hotline’ and hang-outs on Facebook, I’ll guide you through territory that might have always seemed frightening – or at least frustrating – for you. As a community, we’ll support each other in our individual growth and change, in facing our fears, in becoming better writers, in getting our work done.

And right now, there are only four spots left!

The course starts on January 14th, just in time for you to start fulfilling your new year intentions to be a different, more devoted version of your writer-self in 2018 (a preparatory, self-guided, end-of-year reflection lesson will open December 21st, to help you spend part of your holidays thinking about your writing life and getting ready).

One of my enrolled students, eager and excited to join in from the U.S., is already laying the groundwork in her writing room.

Ready to start fearlessly finishing: my student’s cleared desk.

She sent me a picture of her cleared desk, which holds a sculpture of Ganesha (Remover of Obstacles) and an hourglass, for daydreaming, and then posted this on Facebook:

“I took an earlier online class of Lauren’s, and her creativity coaching is nurturing, honest and practical. It can be just the tonic for those who love the interiority and imaginative world of writing, who have written and want to write more—but can’t get out of their own way toward a final polished product.”

Does this resonate with you? If it does, maybe it’s time to learn, like I had to, how to finish. There’s no better time like the present (when I move ahead with the full course later in 2018, the price will be $497, but the cost right now for my small group of pilot students is $268.)

Listen to a little motherly advice, and if this course is meant for you, follow this link to the registration page and jump in. If the first lesson, released December 21st, isn’t your thing, you can opt out and get your money back.

Want to give the course as a gift? Sign up your person, and I’ll send you a pretty gift certificate.

To learn more, including how the course will work, etcetera, visit the course page.