When The Going Gets Tough…

About a month ago, I had been working on a novel that just wasn’t working. For some reason, I could not determine, my heart just wasn’t in it. And although I knew this, I continued to plunder forward, insisting that it was merely a bump in the road, a rough patch, as we all sometimes experience, and the only way to get through it was to write through it.

30,000 words later, I was still experiencing the same rough patch. Reading my work back, the only thing I even liked was the first chapter–big problem. So, I took a few days off to clear my head and decide what to do with my current work in progress.

To make a long story short, I ditched it. When it came down to it, I needed to listen to my heart. And my heart was telling me something I couldn’t pinpoint within the story, wasn’t working, even while my head was trying to tell me, “Don’t quit. Just write it anyway.”  I still have it saved in my files, of course, waiting for the day that inspiration strikes and I finally figure out what it was the story needed–that one vital thing that the story had been missing all along. But I decided not to waste any more time. I needed to write a story I was passionate and excited about. So, I went back to a previous novel, awaiting rewrites and plot changes (I’m totally doing a 360 on this one). But the point is that I’m excited about it. I’m excited to see this novel grow and become better, to reach the potential I always knew it had.

I think, deep down, I was apprehensive to set aside the novel for two reasons. One being that I had already spent so much time and effort writing it, and the other reason being that nixing it would be akin to quitting on my writing in general–would be somehow admitting defeat. Of course, now I realize this is ridiculous. And as far as throwing away 30,000 words, I realized what did it matter if they were empty and mediocre? Why waste my time writing 30,000 more, only then to discover that I was right all along, and the story still didn’t work?

So, here is my question for all of you: Have you ever abandoned a story or WIP? Would you, if it wasn’t working? Or do you work through the kinks no matter what?


5 thoughts on “When The Going Gets Tough…

  1. I abandoned my NaNoWriMo novel for the same reason. My heart wasn’t in it yet. I had multiple projects going, and I wanted to give the novel the attention it deserves. I have plans on reworking it and writing it in the new year.

    My first novel I ever wrote has been rewritten four times because it wasn’t right. I will get back to it eventually, but right now, I’m swamped with new projects. I just hope I don’t let my new projects bury my love for my “set aside” WIPS. lol

  2. I’m a panster….which I fly by the seat and let my mind go where it needs to. I haven’t had this happen in such a big way that made we abandon it, but I did walk away. It required a few changes, but like you, I loved the story and just needed a brief break to formulate it all in my apartment building in my head:))

    Good luck!!

    • I think my problem is that I usually outline but didn’t this time because it was too difficult (or maybe restrictive is a better word) and it has made me uncomfortable. I need to breathe and let go…an just write!

  3. I haven’t completely abandoned a story, but I have set it aside for quite a long time. When I returned to it, I’d had lots of ideas for change and once I worked them into the revision, all was good with the story 🙂

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