On Abandoning a Project

I meant Rhymer to be a single episode in a larger sci-fi universe, a world which I’ve toying with for years. Of the opinions I heard, one thread stuck out – I want more. Too vague about the world. Never explained X, Y, and certainly not Z. I liked these people, and I want to hang out with them a bit longer.

Great to hear, right? Not “Sweet Jesus would you stop with this crap”.

So, I embarked on the next book. Same world, same protagonist, same big issues. I studied structure, mapped out a loose outline, and got to work.  Setup scenes. Fleshing out the world. Establishing stakes, and making the reader care about the main character. Even a little foreshadowing. New twists. Things I hadn’t thought of until getting the pen on that paper.

And then, at about 17,000 words… let it suffice to say that there was a wall. I can neither confirm nor deny having hit this wall.

What followed was a dark time. I wasn’t writing. I knew I needed to write, to just crank out a few scenes and bust through the doldrums. So I slugged out a few scenes. And the doldrums persisted. For weeks and weeks.

Not much else was getting done outside of writing either. Every time I had a free moment I thought I should be scribbling, but couldn’t bring myself to give a damn about this floundering story. So I got all mopey. If I can’t write, might as well just waste what little time I’ve got. And be angry about stuff.

I didn’t want to be the guy who gave up on something when it became difficult. Some dilettante, unable to follow through. “Only interested in the beginnings of things”. Lazy.

But I didn’t want to go on being a grouse all the time either.

So I allowed myself to table this project. Back away from it. You can’t force creativity, and if I’m not excited about there’s no way the reader will be. I’ve got some pretty good stuff to come back to when I’m ready. Stubbornness is not the same thing as tenacity.

I made it about thirty-six hours before getting stoked about a new project. That silence you hear is me not beating a dead horse any more.

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