Edit My Novel
WHY YOU SHOULDN'T QUIT WRITING
(EVEN THOUGH YOU WANT TO)
by Cara Lockwood
Every writer has thought seriously about quitting. I know I think about quitting every time I hit a rough spot in the middle of a new novel. Writing, as everybody knows, is not easy, and while there are days when the words just fly onto the page, there are just as many days when I’m staring awkwardly at the blinking cursor wondering what to write next.
Before I published my first novel, I started –and stopped—at least seven other stories. Say you have an unfinished novel—or seven—on your computer, and you are thinking about deleting them for good. I’ve got seven reasons (one for every half-finished novel of mine) why you shouldn’t:
Every great writer has thought about quitting, but didn’t. Stephen King famously threw his manuscript Carrie into the trash in frustration. His wife fished it out, told him it was too good to throw away, and now he’s one of the world’s most well-paid, prolific and famous authors.
Your writing probably isn’t as bad as you think. For most of us, our inner critics are worse than any we’re ever going to find in the real world.
If you quit, you’ll never get published. There are plenty of bad novels that get published every year, but nobody ever published a half-finished novel.
Don’t let someone else decide you’re not good enough. Writing is subjective, and every writer has faced criticism, either from agents, editors, or friends, spouses or relatives. If someone is telling you that you don’t have what it takes, remember Kathryn Stockett. She shopped her novel, The Help around to every single major publisher and was rejected by dozens of them on the first go round. Everyone told her to give it up, but she didn’t, and now she’s got a bestseller and a movie.
Take a writing vacation, before you decide to quit for good. Take a month or two off from your manuscript and then come back to it. You’ll be surprised by how you feel about it after letting it sit for a bit.
No one sets out to write a bad novel, but there are still plenty of them out there. The fact is no one dreams of writing America’s Worst Novel. To make sure yours doesn’t land on that list, get constructive feedback from an experienced editor.
Just because you haven’t been able to finish the novel you’re working on, doesn’t mean you can’t write one. Sometimes you do hit dead-ends with writing. If this story isn’t working for you, try a different one. You can always come back to the original manuscript later. Writing is like anything, the more you practice, the better you get.
If writing is in your blood, you won’t be able to quit anyway. Writing is my passion, and I couldn’t imagine a world where I didn’t write in some fashion, whether that was novels or my own personal journal. If you feel the same, then you can try quitting all you want, but it just won’t stick. Might as well face facts: you’re a writer and writers write.