Do you always have to finish what you’re writing?

First off, there are two kinds of finishing: finishing a draft, and finishing through the editing process. 

Let’s take a look at the first.

1

So you’re in the throes of writing a first draft. You probably started out with a lot of hype and excitement for your new project. Maybe you outlined it, maybe you didn’t. But maybe you’re halfway through now and all of a sudden…

It just doesn’t feel great and you feel like quitting.

Well I got news for you. It’s pretty normal to get tired of your WIP and run out of inspiration. It DOESN’T mean that your story is no good. You just might need a break, or maybe you just need to continue plugging along. You’re just having a bad week/day.

It could mean that this story isn’t working and should be thrown in the bin. But I do believe if you have a substantial amount of a draft done you should finish it. Finishing is a skill in and of itself and you can only practice it by – well finishing.

(if you only have a little bit done, like a chapter or so, then sure, quit. I’ve started stuff randomly and then never came back to it and sometimes that’s just the writer’s life. We write stuff. Not everything is going to get finished)

2

So you have a draft, do you need to edit it?

No and yes.

Again, editing is a skill as well. I’d probably suggest at least an attempt at editing. Like at least read the draft and think about it. But you can always come back to editing. Years away from a project is wonderful perspective.

Honestly, once you have the first draft finished, I feel like you can leave it for as long as you want. Though that doesn’t mean you should be leisurely about it, or hide from it because you don’t feel like tackling editing. You still have to edit when you don’t feel like.

BUT, I am always for taking a draft and shutting it in a drawer for a while. Or years. Or a couple eons.

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What are your thoughts? How do you decide to quit a novel? Have you ever quit one? 

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4 thoughts on “Do You Have to Finish Writing that Book?

  1. Quit is such a bad word unfortunately the answer is yes.

    I have had this idea for five years. Wrote the first draft once. Redid it again and tried to do it one more time. No matter what I do I cannot see the protagonist. I see the story but I can’t see or feel the main character. I’ll get it. I know I will but he’s going to have to come to me instead of me going to him.

    Liked by 1 person

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