The Power of Quitting

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The power of quitting is very liberating. I am not talking about quitting writing altogether, but rather knowing when to quit a story when it just is not working.

I belong to a writing group, Teach Write, of teachers who teach writing. They are a wonderful and supportive group of writers. Each week we set writing goals and for the past month my goal has been to work on a particular story. I was rewriting and revising each week, but the story was just not working.

This week I shared with my writing group that I quit writing that story and deleted it. I was shocked to learn that they thought it was a great idea. They often tell their students if the story is not working and you have given it your best, then toss it and start a new one. This is the power of quitting. Very wise words for all writers. I have no guilt or remorse. I am not usually a quitter, but this has been a very liberating experience.

Signs that it might be time to let it go …

  1. Not loving your characters – My characters were lifeless or flat. Part of a first draft is working out who your characters are, especially the main character. When you can no longer figure out who your characters are or what they would do or say, that is the time to rethink the story.
  2. Later drafts were worse than the first ones –  If you’re feeling like your revisions are worse than early drafts, it’s definitely an indicator that it’s time to take a break or break up with your writing.  
  3. Getting into your head or overthinking – I thought my doubts about the story were just my brain trying to trick me into avoiding writing. When I started listening to my brain and trying to write, I just couldn’t move the story forward. Listen to your intuition and trust yourself as a writer.
  4. Not being excited by the story – I was very excited about the story idea, but turning that idea into a compelling children’s book did not work. Some ideas should stay ideas.
  5. The writing is boring – If you are not excited about the story, no one else will be either. If you’re bored writing something, pause and really consider whether you are on the right track. Maybe it’s a sign that your plot itself isn’t dynamic enough. It is worth paying attention to that feeling. 

Not all ideas should be stories

The truth is, some ideas will make excellent stories and books. Some ideas do not have strength to hold up for an entire picture book. Your ideas can be used as part of another story or simply forgotten.

The important thing is that you don’t feel guilty about letting a project die. You’re doing yourself a favor by not dwelling on the bad ideas, but rather start a new story. Goal for this week – Start a new story. That’s the power of quitting!

With gratitude …

I am glad you’re here. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful that I can share my writing journey with you. It is an endless journey of learning and growing. A journey that I am enjoying. 

I am now booking author visits for this school year. If you are a classroom teacher, teacher assistant, Parent Teacher Association President, or After school Director I can work with you to create a visit that will meet the needs of your students. Please contact me to book your visit. 

Have you checked out my website. There are surprises everywhere. Click on the balloons and see where they take you. Can you find two writing videos? Freebies? A chocolate chip recipe? There’s even a special freebie to anyone who subscribes to my monthly newsletter. I have a number of FREE resources for childrenparents and teachers that librarians and homeschooling families can download and use. 

A Call to Action … 

Hello! Teachers have you signed up for my FREE read aloud. February 7th is World Read Aloud Day and I will be virtually visiting classrooms and reading my book, Gertie Saves the Day. If you are interested you can connect with me here. I will be sharing more information in my next blog post. 

If you have any questions or you would like to share your thoughts about this post, please leave your comments below. Thank you!

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