I’ve been labeled as stubborn a time or two, although I’ve been always been adamant in proclaiming the word “determined” suits me far better. It’s been like that since I was a kid with two older siblings I was “determined” to keep up to. I never had the feeling that my parents expected too much from me, it was always my own self-imposed expectations that made me so determined, not theirs
Writers don’t end up having their work published unless they have that certain determination about them, not only to write, and polish that novel until it’s the shiniest they can get it, but to collect the countless rejection slips that are most surely heading their way. There are times when all writers sigh and wonder if it’s worth the effort and heartache. Being rejected isn’t the easiest thing to bear. Determination can only carry us so far. Eventually we have to see some results for our hard work.
That’s why I’ve decided to call it quits.
Okay, so I’m not talking about quitting writing. Let’s get that straight. I’m talking about a particular manuscript I’ve been working on for over a decade. Yes, I did say decade. Sad, isn’t it? That much time into one story. I had thought I might actually put the finishing touches on it this week, but that’s not going to happen. Not only that, I’m not sure it’ll ever happen. I’m seriously thinking of ditching it, calling it a “write-off” if you will. It’s hard letting go though, seriously it is. But if I’m being honest I feel as though something is missing with the story, and I don’t know what that something is. Maybe I just don’t like my main character that much, and I don’t feel as though I’m making the story my own. (If that makes sense.) It seems a shame since I’m a few hundred words from being completed, and yet…..
I can’t quite put my finger on what’s wrong with the darn thing.
While determination can be a wonderful thing, there comes a time when we’ve got to know when to say enough is enough. Being so close to our own work, puts an author at a disadvantage. We can’t always know when we’re being objective— whether or not we’re overly optimistic about a project or just feeling down-hearted for no good reason. Did I mention I once stopped working on Flying With a Broken Wing because I started to feel blah about it? Well, it’s true, I did. Luckily, when I went back to it months later I felt much different about it. I could look at what was there and imagine it becoming a book one day.
In many cases writing is a lonely profession. I know today many people have writing groups to cheer them on and give them advice. I think that’s a good thing. But alas, it’s only me to decide what if something is worth finishing. Even determined people need to know when enough is enough. There are always new stories to be written without wallowing in one that feels like a lost cause. Luckily, I’ve got several manuscripts on the go, ones that I do feel passionate about. Good thing, right?
So now I’ve reached the point where I’m stuck between wanting to finish it and finally giving it up for good. Even as I write this blog post I’m struggling to decide what I want to do. A part of me feels as though it’s a waste of time, while another part screams out , “You’ve got to give it a chance!” at least finish what I’ve started since I’m so close to the end.
Have you ever called it quits with a manuscript? How did you know it was the right decision?