How To Know When To Abandon A Writing Project

By on July 17, 2019

While starting any writing project can be exhilarating, there are times where after the initial burst of enthusiasm and excitement, your passion for the project begins to fade, it becomes more cumbersome to write, and you wonder whether you should abandon it altogether.

But is there really a good time to advise writers to quit their writing and start something new? Or do we need to work through these writing slumps as a natural part of the process to produce something fantastic?

Or, on the other hand, is there value in quitting? Not wasting your time, understanding when a project isn’t going anywhere, learning your lessons from it and moving onto bigger and better things?

Quitting can be good, it can free up your time, it can help you stop feeling guilty about avoiding work on a project you no longer care about, and it can teach you useful lessons about your writing self and what works for you, (and perhaps most importantly, what doesn’)t.

So how do you know it is time to quit? The best way to find out is by asking yourself the following questions:

Do you care about the story? Do you love the characters within it? Do you feel emotionally attached to it? Does it bring out strong emotions in you when you read particular scenes? Do you find that you are distracted by everything? Do you use any excuse to find something else to do other than write?

If you aren’t passionate about your writing, and if you don’t care about what happens to your characters, and every time you try to advance your story, it is like pulling teeth, you wasting your valuable time of this earth doing something you aren’t enjoying. You'll also find that even if you do manage to drag yourself kicking and screaming to the end, your readers will be less than impressed with the result. Because let’s face it, if you, the creator of the story, couldn’t care less whether your protagonist achieves their goal or fails, and wouldn’t give two hoots if they lived or died, you can hardly expect your readers to either.

However, there are also some other questions to ask yourself that may make you want to hang in there a little longer. Are you the best person to write the story? Is there an obvious fear that’s causing you to procrastinate? Are you susceptible to self-criticism that means you could be sabotaging your work and chances of success?

Make sure that you are aware of the kind of writer you are. If you find it difficult to get fully immersed in your projects because you are too critical or scared of rejection this is a different problem and one that you need to tackle head-on, rather than blaming your writing.

Only you can decipher whether what you are writing about genuinely matters to you. If it does, stick at it even when the going gets tough. If it doesn’t abandon that project right now and start working on something that you genuinely care about - your writing will get better, and your enjoyment of writing will increase too - so it’s a win-win!

bethany cadman

Bethany Cadman -

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