Today, I was supposed to talk about plotting. But I’m not going to, because I’m an expert at making detailed plans and then abandoning them. You know what else I was supposed to be doing? Rewriting Reign of Chaos. You know what I’m not doing? Rewriting Rei- Rewriting Reign of Chaos. Don’t interrupt me.
Well what happened? What happened was I had a great idea for a scene Age of War: Alliance of Wolves. Two days later and I’m 10k words in to a project I wasn’t supposed to start until the end of the school year. Yeah. There go all my perfectly calculated schedules.
I really am a fan of schedules, to the point where you might call me a fanatic. Things have to be organized, physically and mentally. If I don’t know what I’m doing, or my room is a mess, I can’t think. I was in such a cleaning frenzy these past few weeks that I sorted through every single one of my belongings, even the ones in storage, and then proceeded to clean up other peoples stuff when I ran out of my mess. Scary, I know.
I also had a very well laid out writing schedule, probably the best I’ve ever done. Everything would be finished on time, I’d be able to keep up with Wattpad posts. (Which I haven’t done in weeks.) All that work has to be thrown away now. Maybe. Maybe I can’t burn out this Alliance of Wolves fever and finally get to work on Reign of Chaos. And maybe I won’t.
And if I don’t, that’s okay. If you don’t have professionals waiting for you to finish something, it’s okay to start working on something else. That’s the beauty of being an amateur writer. You still have the freedom to explore and jump from project to project and just immerse yourself in writing. This is your time to explore. If you’re working on a project and you’ve had no progress for weeks… you can stop working on it. You can just set it down and move on.
Now, I’m not saying it’s okay to give up any time something is difficult. Please don’t hear that. But you have to know when to cut your losses. Not that anything is actually lost. But what if I spend months on a book that isn’t going anywhere? Well, as frustrating as that is, you’re still learning, you’re still practicing.
Any writing is worthwhile just as long as you’re writing.Me
(Sorry, I just really felt like I needed to put a good quote there, but I didn’t want to go look one up.)
So what if you have a hundred devoted readers. If you’re not enjoying writing that story, if it feels like work to you, if you’ve been unhappy with it for a long time- it’s okay to stop.
There was a author on Wattpad who did this recently. They had 2.3k followers, a large chunk of whom were following them for one specific story. I didn’t have the chance to read the story, but I did see what they wrote to their followers about it. They said that they’d been unhappy with the story for a long time, that it felt forced, that it wasn’t really them. And even though they had hundreds of people say, “No! Don’t delete this! I love this story!” they still deleted it from Wattpad.
That takes a lot of guts, and I respect this author more than I can say. They did what was best for them and put their time and energy into a project that brought them joy.
I hope any of you who are reading this and are stuck in a similar situation can make the same choice. Slogging through a project you don’t want to be working on is a nightmare. I don’t count editing in this, because editing is a pain no matter what the project is. You have to realize that it’s okay to sometimes say, “This is miserable, I don’t actually have to do this. I quit.” Writing is supposed to be a joy, not a chore.