The Writing Reboot

In which I finally give the boot to a several projects on the roster and move onto better writing prospects.

The 2018 Writing Reboot. Text by Rita E. Gould

After a dismal and unproductive December, picking up where I left off my writing (and, to a lesser extent, reading)[*] has been challenging, especially where it concerns this blog. Some of the seasonal posts I planned, sadly, will remain postponed until a more appropriate moment. New post ideas for the new year need to be generated (of course), and there’s the small matter of what to do with those potential posts I thought would pan out but have produced, well, nothing. Whether they were in progress or in the notetaking stage, I’m finally admitting that I won’t continue writing on those topics.

There’s something terribly sad about shelving a project that once seemed so full of promise. Yet I feel it’s one of those painful and necessary parts of writing, much akin to revisions and editing. A particular sentence may stun with its style or gorgeous imagery, but it deserves deletion if it doesn’t flow with the paragraph it belong to. Similarly, a scene that doesn’t serve the story in terms of character insight, exposition, or plot development should be cut. And the same decisions must be made for writing projects that aren’t panning out. For example, I planned to write about my travels through the Seattle area in conjunction with a book set in that locale. As I began writing, though, I discovered that the tone of the two experiences didn’t mesh well and my interest waned.[†] And if I’m not excited what I’m attempting to write, I doubt someone else will find joy there, either.

Project officially scrapped.

So, I’m back to revising my list to make sure I’m ready for a writerly 2018. While it might be difficult to discard some of my ideas (especially the ones I sunk some time into developing), I’ve gained a better understanding of what interests me as a writer.[‡] With this awareness, I can better focus my writing time on more intriguing topics. Such as this great biography about a scientist who had a significant impact on how we understand nature, a topic which I’m looking forward to discussing at length in an upcoming post.

Have you decided to shelve a writing project? What made you decide it wasn’t worth pursuing further?

[*]Bookmarks and reading lists (such as Goodreads) excel at keeping one’s place.

[†] One sure sign that a project isn’t working out for me is that I keep electing to write about something, anything else every time I attempt to work on it.

[‡] And as someone whose deleted a post that I spent significant time writing and marketing, I’m far more pleased by decision to remove what doesn’t work than keep something that I feel is subpar.

Author: Rita E. Gould: anartfulsequenceofwords

Writer. Reader. Editor.

7 thoughts on “The Writing Reboot”

  1. It is so hard to scrap a project but with any luck the work you put in might come in useful on another unexpected occasion. I shelved the first twenty thousand words of my second novel when I read one that was doing almost exactly the same thing, not just in terms of story but in terms of style too (Electricity by Ray Robinson). But I’m using some of the research and ideas for my latest project. Remember, the work is shelved, not binned. It’s there for future reference.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I was writing a novel when my husband was ill and couldn’t go on with it after he died because what I knew about the world felt so different. Some years on, I wonder whether I could go back to it, or whether it was of its time and will have to remain half-written. I learned a lot from the process though – it’s never really wasted time and effort, is it? And yet I feel kind of sad for those characters too – as if they have had so much happen to them and I just haven’t bothered to tell anyone.


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