Dig Deep or Ditch It?

A few years ago I wrote a draft of a novel during NaNoWriMo. I worked my butt off, as you have to do if you’re going to write a novel in a month. So I did it. Yay, me! It was a big deal. I had committed to something, followed through and had this messy draft of a story that intrigued me. Flash forward to this year. I finished a different novel, a novel-in-stories. Again, yay, me! Another big deal. That was in March. It is now October and it’s not that I haven’t written anything since then. I have. Morning pages. Revised some stories.  Wrote many freewrites and scenes on the NaNoWriMo novel. I set myself some lofty goals. In March I believe I said I’d have a second draft of this novel done by October 31. Ummm… well. Not so much. And it’s not because I haven’t been working on it. I have. Could I work on it more? Sure. But the thing I am struggling with now is I am not sure if I am not engaged with this project because it’s not the right one for me at this time or if I’m just wimping out and not feeling connected to it because I am not putting in enough time. I have other projects whispering around the edges for my attention, which is always tempting. The grass is always greener even (especially?) in writing. The thing is, at one point I thought the novel-in-stories wasn’t the “right project” for me. Then I decided to finish it for a contest that was due in March and with that deadline I buckled down and plowed through whatever resistance I had. I love those stories now. It’s the best thing I have written so far. I can’t believe that at one point I was going to give up.

I’m pretty sure I’ve realized that what I need to do is buckle down, put in some serious writing time and finish a second draft of this novel. But I’m curious, how do you handle this situation? Or is it even an issue for you? How do you know if it’s time to put a project aside or even away or time to dig deep and see what happens? I’d love to hear from you.



4 thoughts on “Dig Deep or Ditch It?

  1. Hmm…. For me I think it is time to ditch something when I can no longer drudge up excitement about it. OR when i have another story BEGGING to get out and the other doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Sometimes the break it good anyway. When or if you get back the other story you will have an easier time finding the issues with it.

    The other indicator is when you get no interest back during submissions. Sadly, that happens more often then not for me.

    • Michelle- I also believe a break can be beneficial. It gives you some distance. I’ve often come back to a story and when I read it I don’t remember having written it. That excites me and spurs me on to dive back into it.

  2. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I do believe whatever you give your whole attention to, even slogging through the rough parts, will eventually yeild inspiration to persevere. If the inspiration doesn’t arise, then it might be time to put it aside or drop it.

    • Deborah,I love this: “…even slogging through the rough parts, will eventually yeild inspiration to persevere.” Thank you for sharing!

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