Sunday, December 5, 2010

Be-lated Thanksgiving

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I'm not sure which guy I felt like after realizing
I hated my WIP. Probably the one in black.

Last week I was reading Natalie Bahm's latest post, The Truth. She said that she was shelving her manuscript that she had been working on for over a year to start on something she was actually excited about. Her post punched me right in the nose, and it hurt. I knew that I didn't enjoy my WIP. I had been working on it for about 7 months and I couldn't even get through the rough draft. I kept avoiding finishing it by revising what I had already done.

For those of you don't know, my WIP was (yes, WAS) about a real witch who lives during the Salem Witch Trials. It was an exciting premise. Everyone said how excited they were to read it when I was finished with it. But then I got bored. It wasn't fresh. Oh sure, the story was different and exciting, but it still contained elements that I had heard over and over again. When writing something that is based on events that really happened I realized that I needed to be really close to what actually happened, despite adding in many obviously fictional elements. The same people surrounded my characters, same events, same places. I had to research the trials from various sources. And I hated it. Despite it being a new story it had a feeling of, "I'm re-telling an old story, just in a new way. And I don't even like the Salem Witch Trials!" Not good. 

With Natalie's post I realized that I was holding onto something that I didn't want. And it was time to let go. That hurts. I spent all week not writing and contemplating if I should even keep writing at all. Maybe I should take a long break. But I can't. I need someplace to escape to. I need someplace that I can create and escape the reality of my job, bills, and life challenges. Don't get me wrong, I have a great life. Its just hard.

And so, I begin again. I have an exciting premise in my head and I begin today to start creating my new world. It's fresh. I can do anything I want with it. I'm not restrained by history. I make my own history. I hope to have a polished manuscript in the time it took to almost get through my last rough draft. When you're excited about something you can't stop writing. I hope to not be able to stop writing.

So, I'm offering a be-lated Thanksgiving to all of you who post blogs and take us with you on your journey. I am grateful for writers that help me have the courage to do what needs to be done to be a great writer. So, Thanks.

How do YOU decide when it's time to shelve a manuscript?