How do you keep writing fiction when you want to give up? On some days you don’t want to write. That’s fine. Take a break. But what happens if it’s not just a mood, and you feel as if you should give up fiction now because you’re wasting time, money, and energy?
Before you give up, consider these wise words from Ray Bradbury:
“To fail is to give up. But you are in the midst of a moving process. Nothing fails then. All goes on. Work is done. If good, you learn from it. If bad, you learn even more. Work done and behind you is a lesson to be studied. There is no failure unless one stops. Not to work is to cease, tighten up, become nervous and therefore destructive of the creative process.”
Writing fiction is a moving process, as Bradbury says.
I’ve given up writing fiction may times, and always started again.
Giving up on fiction is a bad idea… Giving up on fiction is a good idea… Which?
Before you read on, work out where you are with our first tip.
1. Write in your book journal: 10 reasons to give up
Push yourself if it seems hard to come up with ten reasons. You need ten. Do that now, before you read on.
Did you do it?
How do you feel now, compared to how you felt before you made your list? Something’s shifted, hasn’t it? When you corral and write your anger, despair and frustration, your fears are made concrete. You can study them. Immediately, or maybe later, you decide that you have good reasons for continuing with your fiction career.
Make your list, and read on.
2. Read fiction: read good books — and trashy books too
Indulge in an orgy of reading for three to seven days. In the time you usually write, spend that time reading. Read good books and bad — especially read the bad. When you read trash, sooner or later you’ll decide: “I can do better than this!”
Yes, you can.
3. What’s the real problem? Maybe you’re too stressed to write
When a disaster happens in your life, you stop writing. You can’t. You’re dealing with something horrible, so you deal with it.
However, you can be stressed without knowing that you’re projecting your bad feelings onto your fiction. If you’re unhappy in another area of your life, that can’t help but bleed through into your writing.
If you can pinpoint the hell in your life, that may be all you need to do to feel differently about your fiction. Maybe your day job is a zoo, and you hate it, but you can’t quit. Decide on one thing you could do to fix that — it can be a very, very small thing. And do it.
Writing fiction is often an escape, and that’s a good thing. In the world of your fiction, you’re in charge. 🙂
4. Journal from the point of view (POV) of one of your characters
Still with us?
OK, try this. Write two pages, using the first person — “I” — as one of your characters. When you write from the point of view of a character, that makes the character more interesting to you. It will give you ideas, and may just inspire you so much that you leap back into your novel.
5. Write a short story set in the world of your book
Yes, this is the old (but good) “write something else” tip which is often suggested to help blocked writers.
It works. I’ve tried this, and so have writer friends, and for some strange reason, writing a complete story set in the world of your novel always gives you fresh inspiration.
You haven’t given up?
That’s excellent. Keep writing, even if you can only write a page (or half a page) today.
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Update: May 18, 2021