Last month, I finally gave up on a novel I had been working on, off and on, for 9 months. I didn’t want to give up on it, and I still think I’ll go back to it someday, but there was something very wrong with the story that pretty much began on day one. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to go back and start from scratch, especially when I’m 60,000 words deep, so I gave up.

I really liked the characters, but I have to admit there really wasn’t much of a novel there. Maybe in a few months, or a year, it will come back to me, and I’ll finally be able to pin down a proper story for them. I feel really bad about giving up. I understand that everyone runs across a story that just doesn’t work, but that doesn’t help me feel any better about it. And having spent so much time on it, when I could have been working on other things, makes me feel even worse. I can’t help but compare myself to more productive writers, and finding myself coming up very short.

This month, I’m going to be working on A to Z, and afterwards, I think I’m going to put my effort into some shorter pieces. I feel like less of a failure when 3,000 words go nowhere, and I think it will help to bring some new ideas to the front. There’s another novel, with a great premise, but no plot, lurking in the back of my mind, and I’m going to take some time to think that out as well.

So, how’re the insecurities for all of you? Anyone else feel like they aren’t writing fast enough?


  1. Sometimes it is helpful to set a project to the side when you know it's not working. Perhaps getting some distance from it will help you see it in a new way and help you past any stumbling blocks you've been facing. Or perhaps you'll find a new project that will excite you anew. Either way, you're never a failure as long as you keep writing!

  2. A clean slate can be scary but it can also be liberating. good luck on future endeavors.

    Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

  3. You might find that giving up helps more than if you started from scratch. You might find a solution if you give yourself a break from it.

  4. I write very very slowly. And I feel your pain about the putting the book aside thing. I did that with a novel I wrote last year and I still look at if from time to time and think I should fix it, but the problems go too deep.

  5. I realize it's just a matter of semantics, but you shouldn't say "given up on" the novel....you should just think of it as "taking a break". That's what I did and now, almost two years later, I'm working on my original project again.

    Best of luck :)

  6. Hey there Jennifer, I wouldn't give up on the novel either, like Mark said. Give it a rest. After a few months, go back and look at it with a fresh set of eyes. You never know what you might find. Even if you can't do anything with the story itself, you might pull out some very valuable gems. Have a great day. Lily-Eva


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