I often talk about my stubbornness, it’s been a strong part of my personality since I was quite little. And it comes into play in many ways. For instance if I commit to doing something then I have a very hard time letting it go. Even if that thing I’ve committed to is clearly not working for me. I find myself thinking of it as “quitting.” I question if I am perhaps simply being lazy, not pushing myself to my full potential.
But giving up on something, or stopping work on it, isn’t always a bad thing. There are many applications of this in life — but for the sake of this post I am thinking particularly about writing.
Sometimes you have to let go of a project in order to make room for another, as a matter of prioritizing. I encountered this recently with the decision to stop active updates on Disparate Threads. The story was taking all of my attention, and all of my energy. Which meant I was putting all my efforts into what was supposed to be a fun side project, and getting nowhere on my novel.
At first I tried to just adjust my schedule, to update with less frequency, but it was still taking all my energy and I found myself running into my deadlines. I kept thinking, “If I just get a few months ahead, then I can focus on editing the novel.”
I’ve been saying that to myself since December and the editing progress on the novel had been very slow. In a race, it would have been outpaced by a snail. A few times.
So I had to let something go, and since the novel is where I really want my focus to be, it was Disparate Threads that needed to be placed aside. Though I fully intend to return to it, to update again (with more polished updates, a revised beginning, and more consistent characters), it still felt an awful lot like giving up.
In the weeks since I made the decision, though, I’ve found myself making great progress on the novel. Being able to really focus and think about it. As many friends reassured me when I made the decision, I am simply refocusing my energy. I am not giving up. This does not make me a “quitter.” There is nothing wrong with shelving a project that simply isn’t working.
Have you ever faced a moment of decision like that?
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