Sometimes You Just Gotta Know When To Quit…

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?

Or

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?!!

—-Don’t Quit.

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.

—-Quit.

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. ^_^

10 Responses to Sometimes You Just Gotta Know When To Quit…

  1. Oh I know that feeling. I had it with my first novel. I wrote it in one month, revised it in another month and started querying. My goal was to have an agent before I hit 22. HA! It failed miserably, but even before I started querying it, I realized I wasn’t that in love with it. Like it was a good idea but nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that could stand out.
    And that’s a terrible feeling.
    Now it’s become both my First Real Novel and Forever Trunked novel.
    But it made me cautious with other ideas I had. I didn’t start any novel unless I was sure I loved the premise, and I had to spend some extra weeks thinking before I came up with one I loved.
    Which is why I’ve been working on my present WIP for 9 months now and counting.
    I love it and it’s worth all the hard work.

    Hopefully, your Nano WIP is one of the three you love. Because I think there’s something that communicates to others we don’t love a novel we’ve written and they end up not being so in love with it either. Hehe. Just a hypothesis.

    • 22, huh? 🙂 I think I picked 24. But I was a mess. It really is a horrible feeling when you realize it. My first instinct is always to just cut my loses, but I don’t always listen.

      You’re lucky to have caught this problem early. It’s so true though that we really don’t mind working really hard (and even long) if it’s something we love.

      I do love my NaNo project. ^_^ It’s what got me started thinking about all this. It’s such a big difference.

    • Yeah. Sometimes these are even stories we like. Last time this happened to be it was with something that was definitely up my alley. But when it came time to edit it, I had to drag myself kicking and screaming, and editing is something I actually really like to do.

  2. Thanks for this. It has made me think. I’m still dithering between two ideas for the next book. My analytical side tells me to write one of them, and my gut tells me another. This post has me wondering if I should go with the gut.

    • Yes! Always go with your gut. ^_^ My analytical side does things like this to me, too. You just can’t let your brain trick you like that. 🙂 We talk ourselves down sometimes when we shouldn’t.

  3. I’ve quit before, after working on a novel for over a year. Yeah, that hurt, but it allowed me to immediately start writing something else that was a lot better. Sometimes, that is how quitting works …

    • That is so true. Sometimes it does hurt. I guess that’s why it’s so hard to do. It’s definitely worth it though. I’m a lot calmer when I’m working on something I wildly enjoy. 🙂

  4. Agreed! Sometimes you get started on something and you just realize that either it wasn’t a fully-developed idea to begin with, or it’s just not the right project for you at that point in time. Working through tough areas is a given when it comes to writing stories, but if the entire thing feels like an uphill slog, there are probably good reasons for scrapping it.

    • Exactly! And you do need the right project at the right time. I really want to write some of these other ideas I have, but the timing isn’t right for them. They’re either not ready or they’re just not where my heart wants to be right now. ^_^

Hi! ^_^