June 09, 2010

RTW: When to give up

Each week, YA Highway hosts Road Trip Wednesday, a blog carnival in which contributors discuss a topic on their blogs and invite readers to do the same. This week's RTW topic is:

How do you know when a project will work out, and when it won't?

We've been told, over and over, Never. Ever. Ever. Give Up.

I'm here to tell you you should give up.

Under the right circumstances.

Not on writing in general. That's what 'they' refer to when they say never give up. If writing is your passion, never, ever, ever give up.

But on individual projects, sometimes it is necessary. How do you know which projects are worth quitting?

Two things come to mind:

1.) It's like being in love - hard to explain why you know it's right, but you know it with all of your heart;
or, if you prefer
2.) It's like pornography - you can't define it, but you know it when you see it.

Sometimes I am not right for the story; sometimes the story is not right for me. Sometimes it takes a while to realize that. There's no reason I should keep going just for the sake of not quitting. Continuing to work on something that is fruitless and wrong for me is a good way to get irretrievably frustrated with the writing process.

My personal rule of thumb is: If you stop (as in, never come back to it, not take a break from it - we need that sometimes) because you're lazy and don't want to figure out a way to fix whatever problems you are encountering, then yeah, you're quitting. Bad writer, bad!

But if in your heart, you just don't feel it, there's no reason to continue. It is a waste of time, energy, and talent.

And no one can determine that but the writer.

Find what is right for you, and see it through completion. But don't feel bad about not finishing every little idea you jot on a napkin.

Now that I've done my philosophizing for the day, I must make a mad dash to get ready. We are headed to a Backstreet Boys concert multiple hours away tonight (yes, I love my 90s pop!) and want to make sure we're not late!

Happy Wednesday, all!


Rachel Bateman said...

Bwahahaha! I love that you are going to see the Backstreet Boys! That makes me smile so much. You will have to let me know how the show is.

Marquita Hockaday said...

Omigod omigod omigod! You are going to see Backstreet Boys! Holy boy band! I used to love me some BSB- they and Nick Carter littered my walls all throughout high school. If you happen to run into Nick Carter, can you tie him up and send him to me, please? Anyway, great post- writing and coming up with new ideas is a lot like being in love...you either have that feeling or you don't. Kind of like how I feel about Nick Carter *swoon* Perfect comparison!

Tarable said...

How true your post is. Sometimes its better in the long run to give up certain things, to an extent and for the right reasons. And again, I'm JEALOUS!! Take lots of pictures!

Erinn said...

Nice post. I agree. I'm sort of at that point with my current WIP and if I didn't give myself a deadline and a clear goal I think I would have stopped by now.

It's not that the idea isn't good, it's just that I don't love the characters and as I'm writing it I know there's HUGE problems with it. And I don't know if I like it enough go through the pain of revising

Lee Bross said...

Its like that old saying:

If you want to write something, set it free.

If the idea comes back to you, it's meant to be.

Okay, so maybe not quite ver betum! LOL

The Blue Lipstick Samurai said...

It's either like love or porn... Always, lmao.

Great post per usual, Abby! Have fun with the Backstreet Boys! XD

Kate Hart said...

Well said. Sometimes powering through isn't a sign of strength, it's a sign of pigheadedness.

JEM said...

Well said!

Pam Harris said...

Nice analogy about falling in love. Hmm, I think you've inspired a blog post from me. Oh, and Nick Carter who? Brian Littrel for life, baby! :)

Jess said...

"It is a waste of time, energy, and talent." HEAR, HEAR! I'd rather spend my time on something I'm passionate about than labor through something I hate.

GREAT post!

Emilia Plater said...

LOL @ love/pornography parallel. Your point is so true. Charlie Brown is a great example of someone who should've given up, but alas... ;D Have fun at that concert! <3

Sarah Enni said...

Oh Abby you totally hit the nail on the head with the love analogy. I was dating a guy once who was AND IS amazing, totally incredible. But it just felt WRONG. there was absolutely no real reason for me to be unhappy, but I was. It just wasn't right. And sometimes an idea can feel like that. Pretty, sort of promising, and everyone else seems to like it... But missing something. Something crucial.

Kind of like how the BSB are missing Kevin right now. Let's all face it ladies, he was the HOTTEST.

Remilda Graystone said...

Um, yeah, I agree with Sarah. Kevin was the hottest! But anyway, I agree with you. Oh my gosh, I can't imagine how frustrated one could get if they kept going with something they hated.

"Sometimes I am not right for the story; sometimes the story is not right for me."

So true, so true!

Michelle Schusterman said...

It kills me (in a good way) that you made both an "in love" and porn analogy. So brilliant!

Leila Austin said...

"Find what is right for you, and see it through completion. But don't feel bad about not finishing every little idea you jot on a napkin."

Excellent advice. I'm definitely going to remind myself of this next time I get caught up in guilt over the hundred thousand incomplete ideas I have floating around.

Anonymous said...

This is such a great post! I agree there is a distinction between quitting because you're a lazy writer, and quitting because the project no longer works for you. And that, you can only tell from your heart. :)

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