General · How to... · Writing

How To Know When It Isn’t Working

Hey guys,

So, we all have hit that wall before when we just think a project isn’t going anywhere. I know that during my few years as a writer I hit this on a regular basis; usually with my short stories and my repetitive failures of getting through a full novel.

But, how do you know when you are wasting your time? How do you know when you should stop and move on to something new? Here are my top 3 tips for knowing when enough is enough…

You’re no longer getting emotional over your work…

Not having an emotional attachment to the work you are working on (and notice I didn’t say positive emotion because being angry with your work still shows that you want to make it work) is a big sign that you have detached yourself from the project.

Even being annoyed with your project is still a positive sign as it shows that you care about the way it is. So sit and think, do this project make me feel anything?

You’re making changes for the sake of making changes… 

So, we all know that when you are going through the editing process, sometimes your mind wonders and you start making changes; not because you are trying to make it better, but because you just want to change the story.

This can show that you aren’t feeling directed by the story, that you don’t know what changes you need to make to make the story ‘better’. In a way, you are wondering blindly through the writing storm and you’re going to get lost. I suggest taking a small break and working on another project until the storm settles and you can see the direction you need to go.

I find that this happens a lot when you try and do your first/second edit happens immediately after writing, rather than having a break from it and letting the fluster of ideas settle.

You feel fed-up of having to work on this project and rather than a new one… 

I get this feeling this all the time, I sit and work on a project and all I can think about is the new project that I am developing or drafting. The more I force myself to work on the main project, the more I want to work on something else and eventually I become to resent the project.

Sometimes I need to pull myself away from a project to realise that I want to work on it.


So, the question is: how do you know when you need to take a break from your work? Let me know in the comments below because this is something I don’t really see talked about and it is a vital part of being a writer. Knowing when to ‘quit’ a project is an important step in developing yourself and not feeling like you are wasting your writing time.

Thanks for stopping by guys!

Helen

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