I am going to try a new thing. It may happen every week, it may not. It completely depends on if I’m inspired by someone else’s post enough to repost it here.
And today, I’m inspired.
The person who has inspired me is Kristen Lamb. Kristen often inspires me with her take on social media for writers and also her take on writing. I find her advice very sensible and no nonsense and easy to follow. And today she’s inspired me by suggesting writers learn to quit.
I know. Sounds crazy huh? But please believe me, it’s not. I can’t explain it better than Kristen, so read her blog and see for yourself.
Without thinking about it, I learned to quit ages ago in regards to my writing. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t quit writing. That would have been stupid. But I did quit the project I was working on and began working on something else. I did this after the first rejection I got. I didn’t do it because it was the smart thing to do (although in retrospect, it probably was smart.) I did it out of ignorance. I did it because an editor kindly sent me a letter stating my manuscript wasn’t right for them and stated why and what I needed to work on. Sure, it stung a bit – she didn’t like my baby. But I had been an actress and so was used to getting rejected for less. So I picked myself up and rather than working again on something I’d been told needed a lot of work to fix, I quit writing it and turned to something else. And I did this over and over as the years went by and I learned so much from writing fresh. I learned all about what it really took to write a novel and that what I thought was editing wasn’t really editing at all – it was just fiddling. I learned about my craft, about plot and character and conflict and pacing. I learned terms like POV (point of view) and ‘show don’t tell’ and GMC (goals, motivation and conflict) and I learned to apply them in the new works I was working on. I tried out different genres. I tried shorter stories and longer ones. I tried writing in third person, first person, narrator, and a mix of these. I quit and I started again and I learned to understand what I was trying to accomplish in telling a good, riveting story with real characters that readers could get involved in.
And I got published last year with my romantic suspense story, Killing Me Softly, and am going to get published again this year with the first in a paranormal series, Dark Moon (see what I said about trying different genres?) And I don’t think I would have got to this point if I hadn’t quit those first tragic attempts at writing because what I learned from quitting is when not to quit.
I’m not finished learning. I don’t think anyone ever is. And nowadays, I quit in different ways. I quit extraneous characters that I thought were hugely inportant but end up just dragging the story. I quit holding onto certain scenes that I once thought were incredibly important but cut into the pace. I quit sub plots that don’t add to the whole.
None of this is easy, especially when my inner, thin-skinned writer self kicks and screams and sobs and cries because of the loss of those precious words. But Kristen is right. Quitting is important. Letting go is important. Until Kristen said it, I never thought about it in such simple, but essential terms.
So, her post is my inspirational post for the week. It inspired me to write this, to share a little bit more of my journey with you.
Quitting is good – when it’s the right kind of quitting. So, go quit today and then charge on doing something else and learn all you can from the experience. I guarantee you’ll get something really important out of it. You might not see it today, but you will see it eventually, just like I saw it today when I read Kristen’s blog.