A Eulogy for Past Projects

I read somewhere last week that when we have a lot of unfinished projects they can haunt us. Affect our focus. Scatter our brains.

So, I’ve decided to just say “screw it” and give myself permission to not give a crap anymore. The stories will work out or they won’t. The rewrites will happen or they won’t. It’s just not that serious!

Sometimes I pick up a project that’s been sitting for a while and find that the plot has changed. This isn’t a big deal if everything is gelling and making sense. It’s not a big deal if everything has changed for the better. It’s also not a big deal if it’s a small change. Sometimes, though, the story becomes a bigger mess every time I touch it. Plots unraveling. Vanishing motivations. World building and backstories that don’t make sense no matter what I do. Honestly, I’m tired of fooling with them. They’re legitimately stressing me out. And while that happens in spots with nearly everything, I don’t believe the whole thing should be a giant ball of stress.

So, last weekend, I wrote a bunch of projects on slips of paper and burned them in my tiny cauldron, because why not? ^_^

Not all the projects are 100% never going to happen, but it’s a nice symbolic gesture to help me release some stress, and I don’t hate the smell of burning paper.

Sometimes we think the problem is that we love the story too much to let it go. But it doesn’t matter how much we love something. I love all of my stories. But I’m not going to stress myself out and lose sleep over ideas that won’t come together and stories I’m unhappy with. It’s not worth it. And stressing over them doesn’t help anything. It just makes things worse. Like, I’m not going to run out of ideas, but I will run out of patience. And energy.

The important thing is that I learned from those “failed” projects and continue to learn from ideas that I make a mess of. Because the reason ideas fall apart is me anyway. Me stressing out. Me thinking too much. Me worrying. Me forcing crap. I’m not going to call myself a perfectionist, because I don’t think it’s that extreme, but I have a really hard time forgiving myself for messing up. And I’m not going to put that kind of pressure on my writing anymore.

Writing is a big part of my life. It’s hard on me when I feel like it’s falling apart. So, I’m going to work on that.

During past struggles, I used to say to myself, “no one cares – keep writing.” But I’ve decided that’s horrible. So instead, I’m going to say, “Have Fun.” Also, I finally looked at the corkboard by my desk, and there’s a quote on there from an earlier post that says, “You’re going to doubt yourself. You’re going to worry. You’re going to be afraid. Keep writing.” I’m going to listen to past me. 🙂

In fun news, WINTER’S SIREN is in a Cover of the Month competition over at AllAuthor.com. You don’t have to be registered to vote, so CLICK HERE and show the cover some love! 😀

Lastly, in work-in-progress news, I haven’t changed projects. Haha. Not for lack of trying, and I might need to start the opening chapter over for the third time, but it’ll be good for me to figure out how to get past this freaking out that always happens when I start something new. I’m also going to stuff myself in a reading hole for a few days, because that’s always a good idea.

15 Responses to A Eulogy for Past Projects

    • The one story I printed out is at the bottom of desk drawer. >.< I might burn that in a fire pit one day.

  1. That cauldron is awesome! That is some Macbeth right there! But it seems like a truly good way to symbolically and literally purge. This might be more of an issue for you than me, though, since you seem to have more ideas floating around and I have…like, maybe two or three at any given time.

    • Isn’t it?! I totally love Macbeth. ^_^ Two or three is more than enough. Anything past one activates something crazy, I think. Lol!

  2. I think often physical actions like this can help our brains reset. That’s the reason for a literal “burying of the hatchet.” Good on you for giving yourself permission to move on and not be stressed by them.

  3. First, I’ve decided every writer absolutely NEEDS a tiny cauldron.

    Second, I have to remind myself that writing is not my job, it’s something I choose to do. I work a 9 to 5 job, and any stress I feel should be related to THAT, not to my hobby/passion/escape. So if writing is stressing me out, I have to tell myself that I’m doing it wrong and figure out a way to fix it, whether that be letting go of stressful projects, or self-imposed deadlines, or simply my own expectations. I think this can be harder for people like you and me because we’re organized, dedicated control-freaks, and it’s like pulling teeth to get us to let go. But once in awhile we have to make those difficult decisions if we’re going to prevent writing from turning into a second job. Writing should be refreshing and liberating, not grueling.

    I voted for your beautiful cover! It’s definitely the prettiest one hands down. Good luck!

    • That’s exactly it! I’m choosing to work on that story. I swear I act like these things are holding a flamethrower to my butt. They’re not. Lol! It’s so hard to relax, isn’t it? It certainly makes the stories a lot better though.

      Thank you!! I’m trying not to play favorites, but I might think that cover is a smidge prettier than the others. ^_^

  4. Have fun is a great goal and motto!
    I have one project that got worse every time I touched it and I still love it, but I think it will be another five to ten years before I even look at it again.

  5. I love the cauldron idea! I have a project which has sat around for over ten years and comes back every now and then. Someday, I want it out in the world, but it has a way to go until then…and if I only knew which way that is 🙂 Happy writing and heading over to vote on that cover now!

Hi! ^_^