Once upon a time, you started a novel. Once upon a NOW you wrote said novel.
(Okay, okay, okay–*catches rock aimed at face*–it’s been 5 billion weeks. Sorr–quit it! *dodges small truck* You know what? Not even sorry. You should be writing, anyway.)
I’ve been writing the same novel for four years. I went through five drafts of my beloved, adorable, cuddly, happy, usually dying charries. And I loved that book; I still do. But I made a decision to stop writing it a week ago.
Why? Because it sucked the happiness out of me.
And even now, a week after quitting, it’s still attacking me. It has so, so much potential. But despite everything, I’m stopping. I’d much rather be happy than published.
It made me unbearably unhappy for a number of reasons, which I will not disclose, and having distance from it is so alleviating that I’m not really sure why I didn’t drop it sooner.
Now, writer who should be writing, I want you to sit back and think about your thoughts concerning your current WIP (the glistening baby child on your laptop). Does it make you ache over your past failures? Does it make you want to rip your hair out? Does it cause more emotional damage than good? If so, then do yourself a favor and quit.
If the fight isn’t worth it, then stop writing and dive into a kiddie pool of melted chocolate. Paint your walls yellow. Take a trip to Barnes & Nobles. Go to a secluded island off the coast of Canada and sing Queen at the top of your lungs. For a couple days or weeks, separate yourself from the novel. Then make your decision: Do you want to go back to it, or leave it behind?
If it makes you unhappy beyond comprehension and haunts your harmless thoughts, then please leave it behind. Take a couple weeks of break from writing, and then, if you want, come back with a new story. (And go to Staples for new cute notebooks and pens, because I’m pretty sure you can’t start a new WIP without a new set of cutesy notebooks and pens.) But make sure it’s a story that makes you happy.
There is a level of annoyance that yopur novel brings you, which is normal. But you cannot allow your novel control your happiness.
There are a billion other ways to order the twenty-six letter of the alphabet. Find one that makes you happy.
What am I writing now? Something awesome. Something cute. Something slightly terrifying with lots of murder.
And I’m finally excited to write again. I get to torture new innocent charries *cackles*. I get to stare at walls with different questions. I get to freak out in front of my family with new ideas. I get to buy overly expensive coffee for new babies. I get to research drowning and stab wounds instead of gun shot wounds. I have an excuse to go to Staples and spend every dime I own.
Ah, the writer life.
Oh–and I’m *ahem* plotting. *car brakes screech* …Yeah.
Now go write me a novel, for the writing fairies frown upon your procrastination. And buy me chocolate.