It’s OK to stop

There is a wonderful paradox I encounter in every essay by Chesterton I read. His verbosity is overwhelming, his vocabulary astounding, and his social awareness is somewhat mocking of my own. I get lost in his introductions, rescued in the rising action and body, and brought home in the conclusion. Every essay is a chance to find peace.

And yet every essay ends like a train wreck, suddenly and sometimes without warning. He writes until he has nothing more to say, and then he stops. Chesterton has a courage I greatly admire.

I don’t want to fill a book. I want to write what needs to be written, and then stop. I can collect the pieces and bind them if that’s what people want, but I don’t want to write just to fill pages, or to hit some imaginary “preferred word count.” I don’t care if people want a book that’s a hundred pages or three hundred. I’ll write, and I’ll put some related things together, and it’ll all work out.

I want to write, but Lord knows, I want to stop as well. We all need to stop sometimes. I think that’s probably OK.

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