Monday, March 25, 2013

How do you know when to call it quits?

© Photographer: Sherry Tetens Long |

Hey, all! 
I'm kind of excited but also kind of sad this week.

Why, you ask?

Well, this week marks the LAST week of the A Little Bit Cupid Tour that has been going on. YAY!!
In fact, today I'm over at Autumn Review sharing my TOP TEN Fun Facts about my book. :-)
Come on over!

(That's the exciting part)


The sad part is that I've been trying to work on a new book of mine for a good chunk of last year and part of this year and although it's been moving forward and I'm on chapter 8...I feel I must abandon this story.

Yes, this is completely painful to say.
I've been struggling with this for awhile.

I mean, how do you really know when to call it quits or just put your big girl panties on and push yourself to move forward?

I don't think there is a right answer.

But here are some reasons why I'm calling it quits on this story despite the amount of progress I've made:
  1. This book is NOT under contract to write.
  2. Everyday I open up this story I actually dread working on it. It's no fun.
  3. Although there is nothing "technically" wrong with this book, it's not ME. My voice isn't there. There barely is any humor or fun banter--things my books normally have in them.
  4. I'm not "feeling" this book or the characters and as a result I feel readers will pick up on it as well.
Do any of you watch American Idol?  One of the things the judges constantly say to the singers is that they have to FEEL the song and not just sing it well. That difference comes across to the audience.

It's hard to walk away, because it's not something I normally do and part of me will always feel as if I failed. Failure is hard to accept even if it's for the right reasons.
So I'm a little down, but part of me feels as if a HUGE weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I so need to work on something fun and lighthearted and I actually have two ideas I'm toying with. Going to plot a little today and see if I can sketch an outline by the end of the week and we'll see what happens. :)

So that's my little crisis. You would think writing would get easier with time!

How about you?
If you're a writer, have you ever abandoned a project for the reasons I mentioned?
If you're not a writer, have you been watching American Idol? What do you think of the contestants this year?


Old Kitty said...

I now know to click "read more" to read more! Sorry just been over at Autumn Review's site and I thought the blog post's not finished but then I saw the "read more" link. Ahem!! Love your character notes for Cal!

Anyways!! Awww but at least you have other ideas sparkling away while this other one is put to rest!! I hope these new ones shine brighter!! Take care

Connie Keller said...

I hope the new idea works out and you enjoy it. There's nothing worse than forcing yourself to work on something that just isn't working.

I have a half-written book in my computer somewhere abandoned for pretty much the same reasons. :(

Dianne K. Salerni said...

About a year ago, I abandoned a project that already had 55k words in it. I realized it was a mess. The pace was slow. The characters were not believable. The approaching climax was going to be a tangled knot of too many things happening at the same time.

And I really, really, really wanted to work on a new idea.

I never regretted laying it aside. I did take a look at it several months later and determined there might be some elements worth pulling out and putting into some other story. But this one was just dead.

Linda G. said...

I have abandoned books before, usually for the same reasons you list. Each time I start a new book, it's like a blind date. Sometimes I hit it off with the characters, sometimes they're pleasant enough but just not for me. There has to be the right chemistry present for me to stick with a book.

Jennifer Shirk said...

LInda: I love that! Like a blind date. So true. I thought this one had potential but it turned out he was a dud. LOL

Dianne and Connie: Glad I'm not the only one.

Laura Marcella said...

I've had to abandon stories before. It's always a bummer. One or two I've gone back to, though, and suddenly there was new life. Sometimes the timing is just wrong. So who knows? Maybe in a few years you'll return to this story and know what to change to make it something you're excited about.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I have abandoned a book project before. I'd planned to write a teen version of Overcoming Obstacles - I did research, starting organizing the chapters and writing a little bit. But my heart wasn't in it. Maybe someday. But I think at that point, I just needed a writing break.

Julie Jarnagin said...

I'm glad you've come to a decision you feel good about. I can't wait to hear what you're going to work on next!

Anne Gallagher said...

I don't think I've ever "abandoned" a project, I've just stuck them in files and left them there. Every once in awhile I take them out and add something to them, but they're not high priority.

Put it away. Who knows, maybe you'll find something somewhere that will inject the life you need into it.

Linda Kage said...

I abandon projects ALL the time. Sometimes I go back to them, sometimes I don't. I think I'm very much a muse writer. I don't think that is a good things or a bad thing. It just is. I say be any kind of writer you need to be because you're doing this become you like to not because I pays all the bills! HUGS!

Karen Lange said...

I have abandoned projects, some with the thought that maybe I'll go back to them someday. I find there's almost always some kind of idea to be stored for later use. Whether I actually get to it or not is another thing...:)

Jessica R. Patch said...

I'm sure you'll swing back with something all you and fabulous!
I'm in the middle of deciding whether to abandon a project as well. I think it's a tad easier decision when it's not under contract. :)

Nancy said...

Too bad about your book, but you know best. Yes, I know how you feel. In a few weeks, I will share a similar story.

I haven't watched American Idol since Chris (forgot his name) won. My husband doesn't care for it. We usually watch T.V. together.

Hope your story pans out for you.

Maria Zannini said...

If the heart's not in it, you did the right thing.

There's bigger fish to fry! :o)

Nas said...

You have to do what is your gut feeling telling you right now, Jennifer. Maybe later you will get to it and turn it around?

All the best!

Carol Kilgore said...

You know you did the right thing when you felt that weight lift off your shoulders.

I don't say I abandon projects ... they're just not the right projects for me right now. Will they ever be? I have no idea.

Just move on :)

Rula Sinara said...

I wouldn't say failure or abandonment. You're being smart and sticking in a file to clear your mind...and shoulders...for things you're more passionate about. Very smart!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

If the book is no longer fun, and you're not "feeling" it, I think abandoning it is absolutely the right thing to do. And the fact that you feel relieved proves it. Could be, in another year or so, you might feel entirely different about it, and be ready to have another go at it.

As for American Idol, I don't have a clear favorite yet, but so far, I prefer every one of the female performers over any of the males.

Shelley Munro said...

I think a lot of writing is gut instinct. An author generally knows when something isn't working. I've stepped away from projects and picked them up months later. The book I've just sold had many stop and start periods. I don't think I was ready to write the story, but now I'm pleased with the end result.

Cynthia said...

I've said good-bye to a WIP for one of the reasons you mentioned-- because I dreaded working on it. I'd revised it so many times that just thinking about the story put me in a cranky mood. So I decided to move on, and I'm much happier with my new WIP.

Southpaw said...

It's tough to let things go, but you never know you may come back to it later and it will work.

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