Writers are people with stories inside that are doing their best to make the story come to life. The story is their baby, and they love that baby with all their hearts.
But what happens if they can’t make the story work, no matter what they do?
This is a huge thing for me. I’ll start writing, and everything feels flat and awful. This isn’t abnormal for a writer. Even those who somehow manage to have a half-decent first draft might feel like they’ve just penned the worst bit of writing to ever have existed. Some will say there’s no such thing as a good first draft, but let’s be honest. Some are more salvageable than others.
But how can one tell the difference between a story that just needs a lot of work and one that might never be enough for you to want to publish it?
Here’s the deal: Every book has people who loved it, people who liked it okay, people who didn’t have much of an opinion, and people who hated it. That’s going to be a thing every time, no escape! And if you keep working with that fear devouring you the whole time that no one’s ever going to like what you have to say, then that’ll just create one huge stumbling block.
However, there are going to be times you consider your book and think, “I don’t want to finish this.” No matter how much you try, what angles you look at it, what changes you make, you still aren’t interested in pursuing it. And it might drive you nuts! You feel like a failure who’s just giving up!
But that’s not always the case. Sometimes you feel like the story is going nowhere because it’s really going nowhere. Sometimes you do have to let go and move on to something else when you realize that nothing’s getting better regardless of how many hours you put into the book.
Don’t toss every idea into the trash that’s giving you a hard time, but if you’ve given it your honest best shot, and there’s nothing you’re getting out of it, it might be time to pass on the novel and go for something better.
There’s no sense torturing yourself for a book that you’ll end up resenting later, or getting stuck on for so long that you lose all your other ideas.
But I recommend keeping a tiny note somewhere about this book. Something that you might be able to recycle in a different story, be it a character or location or side plot.
Just don’t be afraid to say goodbye. Parents might not have favorites but writers do. You need to be allowed to find your favorites.
So go forth and find!
I’m approximately 5,000 words behind on NaNoWriMo, and I’m trying to not let it get to me. The purpose this month is to fall back into love with writing. It isn’t necessarily to hit my 50,000 words in November.
I’m also trying not to think of too many things at once, as I’m likely to do no matter what I say. Birthdays, Thanksgiving, gifts for the holidays, boyfriend, work, catching up on my reading list… On and on it goes, when it stops… Well, I hope it doesn’t stop. Having things to think about means I’m alive and am living.
And I’m pretty grateful for that.