Lessons Learned

winnerI love winners.  I love underdogs.  I love losers when they don’t give up.  But I don’t love quitters. And that one thing – not wanting to be a quitter, not wanting to feel like a person who throws in the towel, has about wore me out.  It’s been two years since I published my first book.  Since then, I’ve worked on the sequel, written and published a novella and wrote another story.  But it’s that sequel that’s killing me. I think about the characters, how the story should go, what I want to happen.  It all sounds good in my head – and yet, when I sit down to write, I lose interest.

Other characters have popped in, wanting to tell their stories, and I told them to hold on.  It wasn’t their turn.  After a while, they stopped knocking on the door of my imagination.  And that’s sad.  It bothers me that I stubbornly clung to the idea that I had to do a trilogy – because that’s what YA writers do.  Those other stories, those other characters, are like smoke rising in the air.  How do you recapture those ideas?  Because it’s not like I haven’t tried.  I wrote down the ideas – I knew to do that much.  But going back a reading over those thoughts – I’m not finding the magic.

After so many hours working and reworking the sequel, I’ve got to admit it:

I’m a quitter!

Maybe one day, the story will flow.  But now is not that time.  I’m shelving the sequel.  I’m reclaiming the joy I had when I wrote the other stories.  It’s okay for me to put something aside when it becomes a burden.  And that is exactly what the sequel has become.  And it makes me sad to admit it.

But –

I’ve learned something important.

As a writer, I should have stayed true to my first instinct.

If I would have done that, then those other characters – their stories would have been told.

And –

I remembered something important.

Just because other people are jumping off bridges, doesn’t mean I have to.

If I would have worried less about what other writers were doing, I would have been satisfied with a stand-alone book.

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7 comments

  1. What is so neat about being a writer is it is only YOU in front of your keyboard. We all want to be successful and think if we are like Nora Roberts, Stephen King or anyone else that is making money, that it will happen for us too. But if you think about it, they are successful because they unique.I have always KNOWN that you are a talented writer. I also think you are too hard on yourself (you’ve heard me say that before) Throw what I think or anyone else thinks out the window and do YOUR thing. Let the rest of us stand back in awe and agree, disagree, suggest, ask about your technique. DO YOUR THING.

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  2. I liked your post because I could relate on so many levels. I’ve been trying to write a memoir for 3 years. I’ve posted sections of it as vignettes or short stories and they were received well by the audience. The problem is that the memories are painful and drugging, and I don’t want to relive them like I need to to write the entire memoir. I finally decided that it was just okay not to write it yet.

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    1. If you find it too draining to revisit those memories, then I think you are doing right to wait. Writing should be something that feeds our souls and if our subject matter is sucking us dry, then we have to move on without guilt.

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  3. I really liked your article because I related to it so well. I’ve been trying to write a memoir for 3 years but I do not like reliving the memories. I have posted portions of it on my blog as short stories and they were received well by the audience. I finally decided that it is just ok not to write the whole book yet.

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