Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stopping Doesn't Have to Mean Quitting

The Muse mentioned something in her blog post last week that I thought I could expand on a bit. I've given myself a year to work on Familiar. After that, I stop writing it. My year started last October, so it's already half gone.

That doesn't mean if I can't make Familiar work I'm going to pack it all in and give up my writerly dreams. It also doesn't mean I have any delusions about selling a book six months from now. Familiar won't be finished then no matter what. It's only the first draft I'm worried about right now.

There is some advice out there that says you should finish the manuscript no matter how long it takes, because finishing is the important part. It's good advice. Finishing is important. You have to prove you know how to finish an entire novel before you can move on to the next step toward getting published. But even though this blog and such are new, that's not where I am as a writer. I've finished first drafts before. Several of them. I don't think I know how to finish a novel. I know I know how to do it.

I'm not worried that I can't finish the story. I know I could do it if I was willing to put the time into it. My concern now is something entirely different. Now I'm more worried about getting sucked down a rabbit hole with this story, making it the one thing I stubbornly work on for decades, only to find out in the end that it wasn't a terribly good idea to begin with. I don't get a lot of time to write. I have to make most of the time I do get and I can't afford to waste it on an idea that isn't really going anywhere.

Besides, if it took me years and years to finish the story, by the time it was done I would hate it. Every single word. Once upon a time I was madly enthralled by this idea. And while we're well past the giddy breathlessness phase, I'm still in love with it. I don't want to hate it. I've made that mistake with projects before and it's just cruel.

Poor Aundroma. Even all these years later, I still can't even hear its cute little made up name without grinding my teeth.

So in less than six months, I'll set this one aside. Either it'll be a completed draft, resting and awaiting revisions, or it'll be the newest resident of my creative graveyard, slumbering peacefully in the back of my mind unless I bring it out for a random round of what-might-have-been.

But either way I won't be giving up. It's not a point of no return; it's a deadline. I'll be writing something shiny and new. I've got a couple of ideas tumbling around in the background, waiting for to see whose lucky number gets called.

I suspect it'll be the romance, but there's still time for me to change my mind and save myself.

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