Writing can keep you from sleeping, eating, and being around people. It can cause you more stress than you can imagine when all you're trying to do is produce a story which you love, and believe others will feel the same toward. You see, when you're not writing just to please yourself, an audience of one, but to sell your story to the literary marketplace, it can quickly become one of the hardest actions you'll ever do. You must be completely excited about the story, its characters, its places, sounds and energy; because if you don't, others simply will not. And when the last revision and edit is complete, do you walk away feeling better or worse, excited, happy, or satisfied that what you've mastered will make others feel the same? In my opinion, these are the golden nuggets to strive toward.

Since publishing my first novel, Sons in the Clouds, I've sat down and started three others. I come up with a story, its characters, the places and events which I initially imagine. I start thinking about the forces behind the story and begin listening to my feelings while I write. Besides one, the others, at least for now, I haven't been able to finish or even drive past the beginning one hundred pages because I simply couldn't envision that knockout runaway storyline driving me to the end. They're all sitting around, starting back at me, waiting for my return like sad-looking puppy dogs wanting their treats or pats-on-the-head. I know they're there, I feel them, and I haven't forgotten, but timing is everything when the creative muse comes tapping you on the shoulder. They all have terrific beginnings, now it's up to me to predict their individual finish lines.

All of us who write fiction love the creative process, and my last article explored this very phenomenon. Oftentimes the energy of creating something from nothing is an extremely fickle beast, it comes and goes, at least for me, in spurts. But then, you get lucky, seeing a story from beginning to end, letting you pound that computers keyboard practically nonstop till it's done. So far, it's happened to me once, now I'm chasing that same feeling again like an addictive drug you can't live without.

One of my favorite authors is, Nicolas Sparks. I love his writing style and how he's mastered making the reader really feel the emotions of his characters. Obviously, he's a romance writer and his stories almost always boil down to how things wind up between two lovers after the dust has finally settled. He knows how to bring it all together, but watching one of his interviews lately brought to light some interesting facts: He described his writing as oftentimes painful, rushed due to publisher demands, and sometimes finding himself struggling to type out every word. It surprised me somewhat, and I would've thought an artist of his caliber who's had so many works to his credit would write with ease-just come up with the words naturally and effortlessly. But, it showed me that no matter who you are in the creative field of play, everyone meets the same challenges. As I listened further, he gave his prerequisites before beginning any novel: 1) He has to know how the characters meet. 2) He has to know what's driving the story. 3) He has to understand the conflicts between the characters. 4) He must know how the story will end. Ahh, that's the big one, how the story will end. In the book of Revelation it says in reference to Christ, "I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End." I bring this up because the story of Christ is the greatest story ever told!

For every great beginning, there must be an even better ending. Makes sense, right? If you can't actually see that final shootout, those lovers either running into each others arms or being torn apart along that beach, or experience that intended inspirational message which you've worked so hard to convey during the previous three hundred pages of text, then it's time to explore elsewhere; just let your mind wonder toward a new beginning.

I love the writing process, and believe I've finally envisioned a new story that builds till the end. But, I'm thinking it through and time will tell before the words, "The End" are placed at the bottom of page #?

Good luck with the beginning and ending of your creative highway.

To see more of Randy Mitchell's writing, visit his website @ www.theinspirationalwriter.com Books Available on Amazon