Ever looked back at childhood favourite picture book The Hungry Caterpillar and thought ”that caterpillar is a real prick”?
Sure, he’s hungry. Who isn’t? But throughout the book there’s no shortage of food. It’s not like he’s going wanting. His problem is he doesn’t eat everything he’s given. Just chews holes in whatever he comes across, leaving it inedible for the next poor bastard who happens upon it.
Maybe he wouldn’t have been so hungry, if he’d just eaten up everything the first few meals had to offer.
Luckily, I think there’s something we can learn from this wasteful little larvae.
When it comes to writing it’s way too easy to get carried away with a thousand and one little project. Each day, chucking words at one or the other, taking bitesize chunks out of each pro-ject yet never feeling like enough’s being accomplished.
In the end, you have this pile of projects with little holes in. Teeth marks across otherwise blank pages. But you don’t feel full, because instead of chowing down on a whole meal, you tried to snack of 57.
I know I’m definitely guilty of this. And I’m sure if you looked through the average note-book, Google Keep, Drafts folder, Evernote or wherever people like to keep their multitude of ideas, many others too.
So unlike that dick of a caterpillar, I’m thinking I might stop putting holes in everything I see and tuck into something a bit more robust.
Like Mr Gaiman, and I’m sure dozens, if not hundreds, of other successful writers point out. Finish things. That goes for you too, caterpillar.