Writing 101: Knowing When to Stop

So, I got all excited about writing this particular story. It completely fired my imagination; I found myself shirking other responsibilities just so I could research. Who does that? Anyway, I was thrilled about it so I started writing it. But then, something just didn't feel right. I tried forcing more chapters, but it just didn't sit well with me. Eventually, I had to put the book aside...and ended up writing an entire other novel instead. Then, just the other day, all the answers came to me out of nowhere. Knowing when to stop is a big part of being an indie author. 

Hitting the Brakes

There are going to be times when you've got writer's block. There are going to be scenes in your book that are difficult for you to write. There are going to be times when you're physically and emotionally exhausted, and writing feels impossible. There are moments when you've got to force it and get the writing done. But then, there are times when you really do need to walk away. Knowing how to tell the difference is something every author has to learn.

When every sentence is a struggle and every word is a nightmare and nothing feels right, forcing it isn't going to help. You know, as an author and as a reader, when something isn't working. Don't ignore that feeling. Don't say "well, it's just a first draft," or "it'll get better when I get past this chapter." If you have to talk yourself into writing a book, maybe you should be writing a different book. 

I know this from experience, because if you keep forcing those words when you know they're wrong you're going to have a lot more stuff to rewrite later. I have to rewrite three chapters because I kept trying to force a story that wasn't working. But then I stepped away, and I wrote something else. And out of the blue, I figured out what was wrong with that other story in the first place. Now, I know how to fix it. 

Knowing when to stop is particularly hard for some authors, like me. But it's a skill we all need to learn.

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