How do you know when it’s time to stop?

I’m wondering this right now.  I’ve got a short story that I’m working on.  I was really excited about the idea when I started.  The story has gone through 4 iterations as I’m writing it, and it’s been over a month now.  On a short story?  What the fuck?  I’m a big believer in Chuck Wendig when he says “FINISH YOUR SHIT”, but when do you stop trying to finish?  I can’t think that my current slump is just because I started playing WoW again.  It’s not a lack of ideas, but a lack of ‘inspiration’ as to how to put those ideas together.  Maybe some of it’s because I’ve been a bit scatterbrained lately.

One thing about me (and if you know me, you already know this), I did a lot of drugs.  I don’t like to blame things on that, and I definitely don’t believe I deserve any special kind of treatment because of it.  I’m not really sorry I did drugs, but (and I have no proof of this; this is just what I think), I have trouble sometimes holding a lot in my mind at once.  If I’m not careful and not prepared, I have a lot of trouble concentrating on one thing for a long period of time, sometimes even forgetting what I say in the middle of a sentence.  I can usually turn it into something that seems funny and everyone laughs, but the truth is that it’s really embarassing and it scares me.  The way it relates to this particular topic is that I sometimes lose interest in something as I’m writing it.  Now a lot of the time I’m able to muscle through that and write anyway, but for some reason I haven’t been able to do that lately.  I don’t know what to do about it except to keep writing and hope something comes out of it.  If it doesn’t, I try again until it does.

But another idea has occurred to me.  I haven’t worked on it in awhile, but I’m kind of excited by it.  Back in the late eighties/early nineties, my father wrote a novel packed with espionage, terrorism, and anti-terrorism.  It wasn’t what the editor he sent it to was looking for, but he sent a 21 page rejection letter, so OBVIOUSLY he saw something in it he liked.  Well, so do I.  A few years back, I asked my father if I could have the novel and rewrite it, and he agreed.  It’s 800 pages typed, so my first task is just entering the story into my laptop so I can edit it proper.  I plan to work with him on every aspect of it.  It’s not my usual genre, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to connect with my father on this.  I plan to pick that up after I work on my short story, and I have a feeling that’s gonna be sooner rather than later.  I guess that’s about it for now.

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