14 June 2013

Making Difficult Decisions as a Writer (and Making One of My Own)

goodbye

Over this past week, I have made a very, very difficult decision. I tentatively blog about this, fearing I may slide backwards and jump right in again. But, I often use my blog to express my thoughts, so I will use this chance tonight.

I am saying goodbye to my fantasy novel.

This decision hasn't been an easy one, but since I did complete my novel last year, and reading back over what I've written, I have been shocked with how much work would lie ahead for me. A lot of the beginning chapters are years - and years old - and I'm not sure I can put in the work needed to improve this novel. I started this novel as a kid and now that I'm in my mid-twenties, I need to weigh the decision as to whether the time and effort is worth it. I'm not sure it is.

Like I said, I think most of all, I want to continue to grow as a writer. Holding onto this novel at this point feels a little bit like holding onto a crutch. Maybe I'm afraid of letting go. Maybe in some way I feel like I need to hold on as an homage to my younger self that started this journey.

I've learned so much and I'm still proud I finished it.

So what's next? I do have a few ideas under my belt and embracing an idea is a little bit like an embracing a new love. It takes nurturing, time, and attention and while I'm in the bed of another (my fantasy novel of my youth), I could never fully explore a new opportunity and idea.

I haven't quit put the novel in a drawer in my desk. I do have a plan for it as it's been part of my growth as a writer. I plan on making into a type of scrapbook and adding my own notes and thoughts on what certain sections represent to me.

One thing is for sure, I have prioritized my life lately. I have found a balance in my blog, my writing and my job. I have more energy now as I am not extending myself too much (you may have noticed I am not blogging as much lately!). I am opening myself up again to the muse that can only be found in being still.

Anyways, I wanted to formally announce this to my writing friends - to you - as a way of marking a new chapter. And you will bet I will blog about that as I go along too.

What difficult decisions have you made as a writer? How do you know they are the right ones?
 

16 comments:

  1. In response to your question: That's the tricky part. Knowing if it's 100% the right thing is never truly possible. But then dwelling on the decision would in ways be no different than never letting go in the first place.

    That being said, it seems you have valid reason for letting go. It's not like you're abandoning it. You plan to use it to grow. I actually quite like the scrapbook idea. Best of luck on your new adventures!

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    1. Thank you for your support! I hate not knowing if it's the right decision. But I think as I move further away, I will find greater happiness with my decision. I'll be updating on my scrapbook progress for sure, too!

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  2. My first novel began as a series of blog posts and was never intended for print. That was the problem. It was like a jigsaw puzzle and the amount of work I had putting it all together I wondered if it might have been better starting from scratch. I could have done better with the book and knew the second one would be better because it would be written as a novel not as a series of blog posts.

    I had the temptation to do exactly what you are considering but that is a waste of so much effort. Start your novel again from the beginning with your original work as a reference guide. It should be easier. You know the plot and the structure so it should all come together a hell of a lot faster and you will have a novel a lot sooner than you will starting a new one.

    Something else I did which may not suit you but if it does it could solve the problem, I wrote both my books at the same time. It relieved the boredom of going over the same material from the first book all the time. I would skip between books depending on my mood.

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    1. You know, the funny thing is, your comment and someone else's inspired an idea. I thought of a new idea that does use elements of the world I created. It takes on a new plot line, but I feel pretty good cause I'm not entirely scrapping my last fantasy world! So, thank you. :)

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  3. Cutting and chopping things out off a novel is always a difficult decision for me.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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    1. Oh definitely - those are forever a challenge!

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  4. Sometimes it's good to let go of something old. Chances are your writing has grown leaps and bounds since you started that novel, and you would probably have to rewrite the whole thing to bring it up to your current standards. I like the idea of scrapbooking it or something. It's a creative work in and of itself, too.
    I'm not too sure about the difficult decisions as a writer... probably decisions like killing off a character that I like.. that's hard. Or having anything bad happen to my characters at all, for that matter... which can make for some boring writing!
    Hoping your ultimate decision suits you best.

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    1. Thanks Barbara! I think I'm really excited about this scrapbook too. And I just can't imagine rewriting the whole thing. I may use pieces of again for future writings though, for sure.

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  5. I've abandoned books before, and it's always painful to do. However, sometimes it's better to recognize it's not up to snuff and the work required to get it right would basically mean starting over. Better to move on to a new project at that point.

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    1. Yah it's good to know I'm not the only who has to do this. It definitely isn't easy!

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  6. I've shelved two novels, but they weren't completed, so it wasn't as much a painful decision as yours. I think your decision is a brave one, but I also think you will find another project and when you do, it will progress much more quickly than your fantasy novel, only because you are a more experienced writer now than you were when you started.

    Wishing you the best of luck, Nicole. You can do it. :) We'll all still be here to cheer in your corner whatever you decide. Just keep writing.

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    1. Thank you Diane! I think you're right - my next novel won't require so much out of me and for that I'm grateful.

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  7. I put a book in the bottom of the draw last month. It was my first novel. I read the first chapter recently at a workshop and realized it need way to much work to be worthwhile. I may get back to it again, someday. Now, I am so happy to not have to stress about it anymore.

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    1. This was exactly my experience - after getting some people to look at it and reading it myself, I just can't imagine going through a rewriting process.

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  8. Life is full of trials and errors. We grow and learn. It is good that you have put the novel in a drawer. You've recognized how far you've come as a writer. That's important. Some novel ideas just don't peter out the way you want them too. That shows growth on your part. Sometimes you just have to say enough is enough and move on.

    There are definite advantages to moving on.
    You refresh your perspective.
    Creativity flows better.
    You can only try so many times before frustration overwhelms you.

    Sounds like you've reached that point. WTG on your decision.

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  9. I just have to say you are awesome

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