Throwing in the Towel

I almost never offer unsolicited advice — unless it’s of the “Don’t step off the curb, there’s a bus coming” variety. Solicited advice is another matter entirely and I’m honored when the occasional writer asks for my opinion. Here’s one that came to me recently from a fellow scribe:

“I have a question that I was wondering if you could offer some insight on. I’ve been working on my new novel for months now. The process has been slow and painful. I like my main character and I feel like she has a story to tell but it has been like pulling teeth to make it happen. Here is the question: When is it okay to abandon a project and start something new? I don’t want to feel like I gave up but I also don’t want to feel like I wasted a year working on a book that is destined to be a stinker. I’m not sure if you have ever been in this position but I appreciate any guidance you might have.”

My response:

“That’s a great question and I’ve been in your shoes more than once. In my case, I put the projects aside and start something new. Sometimes I’ll return to the projects at a later date and complete them; in others, I just let them go. Hope that helps!”

My friend wrote back and said I had, indeed, helped. Essentially, I gave her “permission” to move on. I understand it’s a tough call. From an early age, we’re taught that “winners never quit and quitters never win.” We don’t want to think of ourselves as people who just give up (unless it’s smoking or drinking). But we also don’t want to waste our most precious resource — time. I’m not saying we need to be excited and inspired about our work in progress every day. Waiting for lightning to strike is the sign of a true amateur. But when we truly know we’re creatively and emotionally stuck, it’s time to tuck our manuscript away in a real or digital drawer (for awhile or forever). Ultimately, as with most decisions, it comes down to trusting your gut.

 

 

Brian Rouff

Managing Partner

Imagine Communications

O: (702) 837-8996

C: (702) 373-2609

 

From: Dawn Ramos <dramos3357@hotmail.com>
Sent: Friday, May 6, 2022 7:36 AM
To: Brian Rouff <brouff@weareimagine.com>
Subject: How do you know…

 

Happy Friday Brian, I hope you have had a great week. I have a question that I was wondering if you could offer some insight on. I’ve been working on Emma’s Gift for months now. The process has been slow and painful. I like Emma and I feel like she has a story to tell but it has been like pulling teeth to make  it happen. Here is the question when is it okay to abandon a project and start something new? I don’t want to feel like I gave up but I also don’t want to feel like I wasted a year working on a book that is destined to be a stinker. I’m not sure if you have ever been in this position but I appreciate any guidance you might have.

 

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