I’ve been struggling with my current work-in-progress for much longer than I’ll admit. Although I loved my story for a majority of that time, I have come to the realization that I don’t anymore. It frustrates me. It taunts me. It’s missing something that I can’t figure out. I have fallen out of love.
But worst of all, the very fact I have fallen out of love breaks my heart. I still remember the excitement of the idea and starting to write it. I remember the big plans I had for this story, a series. Just like a relationship, though, you will remember the good times, and for a while, it will keep you coming back no matter how far gone the relationship is. Eventually, you will come to a point where you must decide to continue or let it go.
Honestly, I have probably come to the point of letting go many times, but I wouldn’t give myself permission. I knew if I just tried harder, read more craft material, pushed myself more, I would get there. But at what cost? My writing suffered. I second guessed my chosen profession. I thought I wasn’t cut out to be a writer. If I couldn’t finish this story, I just might be a hack. So I never gave myself permission to stop. I told myself that all writers go through this and they get it done, so should I.
This weekend I dedicated a lot of time to figuring out how I would fix my story. I have pages and pages of notes and new outlines. As I stared at the wall in my living room last night, my husband slipped in and helped me come to the decision of letting go. He pointed out that I haven’t gotten anywhere with it in a long time. I hate to say this but I think it’s been over a year since I really felt like I was moving forward. A year. He said to just let it go. After we stopped trying to sing the song and giggling, I knew he was right.
So for now, I am closing that chapter of my writing life and moving on. I will always have fond memories, and I learned so much about the craft and my abilities with that story. Hopefully we can be Facebook friends in the future. But for now, this me saying goodbye. I’m giving myself permission to let it go and move on to better things.
Not every writer’s path is the same, and you and I should never beat ourselves up for the decisions we make as writers. It’s what is best for you. I had a hard time realizing that. There is no shame in letting a story go. You never know, you may come back to it one day and be able to polish it up to what you always wanted it to be. What about you? Have you ever had to make the decision to let it go or stick it out? Did you have a hard time giving yourself permission to move on?
I’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts.
Happy writing ~ Jen
P.S. Sorry if that song is stuck in your head now. ?
I’m feeling that way with this short story series I’m working on. I had so many ideas for this series; so many stories and characters to write about. Somewhere along the way, I began to think to myself, “What if no one likes it? What if I put this story on my blog and I get blasted for it?” I had so many thoughts about these stories, and I haven’t written most of them. It wasn’t until I found a critique partner that I began to gain a little confidence in myself and my ability. I still struggle with those thoughts of letting them go, but it’s comforting to know I can go back to them.
So true! The thoughts of people not liking your work, I think, will always be there. Sometimes letting go of a current project even if just for a short time can give you perspective. I hope to one day revisit my story, but for now, like you said, it’s comforting knowing I can move on. Thanks for commenting. ?
I understand this feeling so well!! It’s so hard to let go but sometimes it’s the only way to move forward. <3 <3 <3 Can't wait to see what you start next!
Exactly! ? And thank you!! ???
I’ve done the same thing a few times. I eventually go back to a previous work and am able to see some good in it and where it needs work. I rewrote one of the ones I’d given up on (and ended up throwing out more words than I kept) and that’s the one that eventually got me an agent. Right now it’s on submission to editors.
The point is not to brag, but to tell you to hang in there. It’s okay to put something away and start something else. Just don’t give up on writing!
Thank you, Dawne! That’s exactly what I needed to hear. ? Thank you for commenting.
What you did shows that you’ve just grown a lot as a writer. Most of people get stuck on one novel and refuse to let go, running circles or hastily self-publishing. Even if you get nowhere with that particular project, things you’ve learned will stay for you and make your project better. And who knows, while you’re letting the creative juices flow oand focus on something else, you might suddenly come up with a solution.
Thank you, Joanna. And you’re right, I may find the answer to my problems with this story in another story. ?