Have you ever worked on anything, gotten a ways into it, and realized that you didn’t want to write that story anymore? Sure you have. 🙂 And what did you do?
Did you set it aside and work on something else?
Did you push through it?
Did you Quit?
That’s a heavy word isn’t it? Quit.
But sometimes, that’s EXACTLY what you need to do. People say it’s easy to quit. But actually, sometimes, quitting can be the hardest thing you do with a story. Especially if you’re quite a ways through it. Because you’ve put all that time into it. So much time and energy and love. You can’t just give up on it. You can’t just walk away!
Quitting is for the times when you can’t save it. You can’t reformulate it. It just sucks. Or you simply just don’t love it enough to give it the care it deserves. And that’s okay. Toss it.
So, first you determine IF you need to quit and aren’t just running away because you hit a rough patch.
You: cries This is SO hard, why did I do this to myself?!!
You: sighs Why won’t he do what I tell him to do?!!
You: restless I can’t wait to finish this crap so I can work on something else.
You: groan I am sooooo bored right now.
I have interesting writing-related conversations with my sister sometimes. We’re nothing alike. I can’t say she understands my obsession. But some things just apply to all aspect of your life, you know? One day she asked me if I had put 100% into a story I had just finished working on. A few days earlier we were talking about this story and she said, “You don’t sound like you like it very much.” I was offended, I’ll be honest. I worked really hard on that story. I always work hard. But no, I didn’t give it everything I had. In fact, I couldn’t wait to be done with it. I don’t know how much that affected the story. I can’t really find anything wrong it. A few generic bits. A few…done…bits. But overall? It’s actually pretty good. However, working hard and putting 100% into something are not the same things. Not at all.
Once I get to a certain point in a story, I feel obligated to finish it. So even if my heart wasn’t in it or at some point in the process I gave up on it, I forced myself to keep going anyway because I can’t quit after all that work just because I don’t like it anymore. I’m working to change this. I don’t want any more, “this is good enough” or “this is interesting.” Sometimes when I get ideas I think, “I can make that work.” Honestly, I can make myself write anything. The stories I love the most, however, when I got the idea for them or the right MC for them, it was like a light went on inside of me. It’s immediate. And I decided, I’m not writing anymore stories without that light. I really hate to be that picky, but come on, writing a book is hard. Way too hard to working on something just to work on something.
I don’t do this a whole lot. Out of my last 7 stories, I bled (not literally!) for 4 of them. That means I slaved over 3 stories I didn’t really want to write. It’s like, I was just writing for the high and working hard because I had to — because I wanted it to be good, NOT because I wanted to — because I loved it so much. And that’s the difference between working hard and putting everything you have into something. I finally understand what my 1st writing teacher was trying to tell me. He kept pushing me to bleed on my work (again, not literally, Lol!) I didn’t like it at the time, but I appreciate it now.
Sometimes I feel like if the story is going to fail, it’s a waste of time to bleed over it. But I think The Rock said it best in the movie The Tooth Fairy (not a particularly good movie, but I love him, so I watched it, and I was rewarded with this): “Nothing You Love Doing That Much Could Ever Be A Waste Of Time.”
So here’s to never ever writing another story that I’m not completely in love with ever again. Here’s to Quitting. ^_^