I have already mentioned that I have a neat little sideline writing novels. I have written about eight of them, three of which have even been published. Writing a novel takes a very long time, a lot of effort, frustration and determination, but at least four of the manuscripts on which I toiled, over which I shed tears and through which I tried to express part of myself, will never been seen in print. I am resigned to viewing them as practice pieces on which I honed my skills and learned my art.
Two days ago I added another to my “Archive” folder. My latest effort, tentatively titled Kept in Trust, was gradually being reworked into my next submission. However, having spent four months trying to rework it into something viable, I have come to the conclusion that it is dull, predictable, and beyond redemption, and I’ve given up on it. I don’t like it, and I’m the author, so why should I expect the public to buy it? If a writer’s novels are indeed our precious children then I have just committed the cardinal sin of abandoning this one on the steps of the orphanage because, quite frankly, I don't feel I can help it reach its potential and give it the love, time and dedication it deserves. I have spent years working on this manuscript, usually labouring late at night after the children have gone to bed when all sane people are watching Desperate Housewives with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. It was all in vain. But part of being a writer, I think, is knowing what isn't good and being prepared to let it go, however much you have sweated over it.It’s not easy to admit that something wasn’t worth the effort you put into it. Something we hear often at LawCare is “I spent years qualifying as a solicitor, and I mustn’t waste that time, effort and money, however much I find I hate my job.” There are two points to consider here:
Time spent in education, or gaining experience, is never wasted.
It’s better to give up and move on than waste any more time being unhappy.
I have now started working on a new novel which I am excited about, and which is stretching my abilities and inspiring me as I write it. Sometimes, giving up on a lost cause is the right thing to do.
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