Why NOT Working on My Novel = Best Decision I Made πŸ“š

Why NOT Working on My Novel = Best Decision I Made πŸ“š

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To this day, if someone asks me what my greatest accomplishment is, I will tell them that writing a 98,000-word manuscript is one of the proudest accomplishments that I hold dear to my heart.

 

Ever since the pull to write a novel popped into my head in fifth grade, one subject has stayed consistent throughout my thoughts between then and now: the story of my novel and what I can do to make it better. Seventh grade was when I seriously got into planning and experimenting with writing, but it wasn’t until eighth grade that I began to dedicate 7~9 hours each day on the weekends to write my novel. To say the least, it was an insane and wonderful journey that made me realize how much I loved the process of writing, of creating a story that was finally one of my own creation rather than of other people’s. I found out so much about myself through my writing, and knowing that I had achieved such an accomplishment in life made me more confident in my daily life.

 

Then came the final stages of editing. 😭

 

*cue the ominous background music*

 

I didn’t know what to do after editing my story a few times, and that terrified me. Yes, I had edited my story for four drafts already and had changed a few plot events here and there, but I got to a point where I just had to admit it:

 

I wasn’t a good enough writer yet.

 

I didn’t want to sugarcoat anything for myself — the reality was that my characters lacked development, the lead was shallow, and the more I looked at the story, the more I found sections I wanted to delete, change, or rewrite. After seeing so many problems with my story and having no idea how to fix those problems, I began to become tired of sitting at my computer all day to work on my novel with no solutions in mind.

In fact… I would say that I got prettyΒ exhausted with my story. 😢

At that point in my life, I knew I needed to take a break. I still wanted to write, but not anything related to my story. I had spentΒ weeks of staying at home to write instead of exploring the world around me and spending time with my friends and family, and though doing that on-and-off for a year helped me finish the draft of my 98,000-word novel (and later edit four versions of it), I didn’t want to sustain that kind of work any longer.

 

In February of 2017, I bought myself a domain name and created my own self-hosted blog to write about everything to do with stories. 😍 I fell in love with blogging because it gave me a way to write and publish pieces without it having to be a long one like my novel. Writing blog posts was so much more enjoyable than working on my novel. It was like a breath of fresh air, and I loved it so, so much — and that love has only grown in the past year. 😊

 

The “short break” I intended to take early 2017 got longer and longer. There were a few times that I tried to get back to writing, but I just didn’t have enoughΒ time. I was in school, blogging, and doing everything else that comes with life. To add working on my novel during that stage of my life would have been unreasonable; nevertheless, I couldn’t stop myself from feeling extremely guilty about not working on my book. I promised myself that when summer came, I would work like crazy on my novel…

 

 

 

 

… aaaand that didn’t work out well. 😁 I was whisked away on travels around the world the entire summer, and when I got back, school took more time than I expected. 😊 I spent the little free time I had working on my blog instead of working on my book — and that ended up being perfectly fine for me.

 

At this point in my life, I realized that I loved not working on my novel in the sense that I wasn’t sitting down at a desk and writing. In just the past few months of not working on my book, I’ve already written down a plethora of new ideas that had popped into my mind about how I could make my story, world-building, and characters stronger.

 

I do sometimes look back and think about how many hours IΒ could have spent on working on my novel, and I also wonder… Would I be finished with my book by now if I had forced myself to sit down and edit? Now, though, I know that no matter how much time I could have spent working on my novel, it wouldn’t have mattered. I lacked something vital that only time and living my life could give me:

 

wisdom & experience.

 

I’m now learning to view my story as a living thing of it’s own that needs to grow according to it’s own timeline.

 

If I feel stuck, I need to be okay with taking a break. Living my life with almost a year of blogging has made me a much happier, observant, and even wiser person than before. I’ve started to read books more closely, became more daring and adventurous with a camera in my hands during my travels, and have also learned quite a few things about my own character.

 

I was only able to do all of this, though,Β because I took a break from sitting down and working on my novel.

 

I’ve collected so many life experiences since the last time I worked on my book, and now I’m able to take all those new revelations I have about life, people, and places in this world and work them into my novel. I now realize that my novel lacked solutions to the problems I put my characters through because, at the time, I had given my characters problems that I myself had observed or was dealing with in my own life… but hadn’t solved yet.

Since then, I’ve solved the majority of those problems in my own life. It was only with time that I could have done so, and because I took the time to work on my own life instead of the lives of the characters in my book, I now can go back to editing my novel and apply all these new nuggets of wisdom I’ve gained. 😊

 

 

Thus, with that said…

My break from working on my novel

has finally ended.

 

 

Now, I don’t feel rushed to edit my novel before a certain deadline, or overwhelmed by the things I need to fix; I’m going to sit down, look at my story, and see what naturally comes out of the editing process.

 

I’m so excited to dive back into my story again

and be able to blog about it!Β πŸ˜†

 

I hope you will look forward to the Author Journey posts I have coming up related to novel-writing, and remember:

 

Have a wonderful day,

wherever you are in this world.

🌎 🌍 🌏

 

 

Thanks for reading, and I will cya next time!

~ZoieΒ πŸ˜‹



12 thoughts on “Why NOT Working on My Novel = Best Decision I Made πŸ“š”

  • I’ve been stuck in writing rut for ages but instead of self-blaming which leads to getting depressed because I’m not capable of writing anything I just stop writing altogether and take a nice break by reading, blogging and blog hopping. And it makes feel less guilty and I’m now back to my writing game with more ideas.
    Rasya recently posted…8 Things You Must Do In Seoul, South KoreaMy Profile

    • Yes, everyone is different in terms of how much time off of writing they need to recover and regain inspiration for their stories. I’ve gotten over feeling guilty about not working on my novel only just recently in the last few months, and being able to work on other writing projects (like blogging! πŸ’•) without worrying about my novel collecting dust was such a freeing feeling to have. 😊 Reading, blogging, and blog hopping are definitely great ways to take a novel-writing break! I’m so glad you’re back writing now, Rasya — good luck with your new writing ideas! πŸ˜‹

  • Oh my gosh, I can honestly relate with this so much. I constantly have story ideas in my head but they are always half developed and if I ever find time to write my stories, I always lose motivation quickly and it ends up stressing me out. I’m glad you’ve been able to finally step back, blog and find solutions! Thanks for sharing πŸ˜›

    • Could the cause of losing your motivation be because you’re scared to sit down and work on your story? For me, that was definitely the case — even though I knew my writing wouldn’t be perfect, I still felt so overwhelmed with the amount of editing I needed to do with my story. Blogging really helped because I was able to write without the pressure of editing something as long as a 98,000 page manuscript πŸ˜…, but I feel like I’ve gotten past that fear now (even though it almost took a year to get over) πŸ˜‹ Good luck with writing, Sue — you can do it! πŸ˜‰ Thank you for your comment!

  • I can really relate to this. I wrote a novel when I was really young too and when it came to editing, I realised that it really was true that first novels… aren’t great. I ended up being exhausted with it too. I’ve taken lots of breaks from it over the years, written other things, gone back to it, rewritten it- the point is, I think every time I went back to it, with years more experience, I’ve been able to improve it with a fresh perspective. So I think taking breaks is one of the most important things you can do! And I’m glad you’re back to it now πŸ™‚
    The Orangutan Librarian recently posted…Drafts, Drafts and More DraftsMy Profile

    • I knew that first novels, to put it bluntly, usually are horrendous 99.99999% of the time πŸ˜…, but it still was a little disappointing to see that proof in my hands in the form of the printed first-draft manuscript of my novel *cue the tears* πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ And yes, the exhaustion definitely took over me too! Thank you for sharing your advice — I knew taking breaks from my novel was a helpful thing before, but hearing all these testimonials encourage me even more to get back to work on my WIP and use all the life experience I’ve gained in the past year to improve my book. Good luck with your own novel! 😊

  • Ahh I love this and totally agree! I got REALLY stuck when I was about 17 and writing a novel. I’d only been writing for a few years and I was *definitely* not very good and couldn’t get the grand images in my head onto the page how I wanted. But for me it was a matter of leaving that book and writing something new and I’ve written sooo many books since and improved SO MUCH. Plus not writing –> but instead, like you, working on ideas in your head and thinking. I think that’s so so important. Most of my writing process doesn’t happen in front of the laptop screen. I nearly find it scary and paralysing to sit down and force myself to come up with stuff?! I only go to write when I know what I want to say. :’) (Although I actively work on that because I don’t sit around hoping something’ll happen.)

    Anyway I loved reading your journey and it’s so so good how you’ve gone about this and grown as a writer! It’s really encouraging!
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…10 Writing Questions To Ask Yourself (Mostly To Procrastinate From What You Should Be Working On)My Profile

    • What you said about how your writing in the past didn’t match the grand images you had in mind is very relatable to me 😊 I have so many emotions and revelations that I want to put into words, but finding an effective way to do that is something that I’m definitely trying to improve on. Every time I edited the draft of my book, I found parts of the story that were beautiful and exactly like it wanted it to be… but then there were other parts that made me go, Did I really write that? I’m hoping that, with all the new life experiences I’ve gained since the last time I worked on my story, I’ll be able to edit my story and make it less shallow than it currently reads off as πŸ˜„ Also, only writing when you have something to say sounds like pretty good advice to me! After months of not touching my WIP at all, I’m so excited to get back into writing again!! Thank you so much for your advice, Cait, and good luck on your own novel too! πŸ˜‹πŸ“š

  • I feel you a lot. Rght now I think that I’m a bit like you felt in the past. Everything basic is done but many details lack on my writing. I’m so gald that you found a way to reach your writing dimension and everything else that make you feel relaxed.
    Right now I decided of taking a six month break to do research of everything I need and not writing. Just enjoy life, reading, and try to do not see my novel for a bit.

    • I love how much I’m finding out that feeling lost in the editing process of a WIP is such a common feeling for writers 😊 It’s great that you’re taking a break and doing research — all that work editing and researching and figuring out all the details of your story will pay off in the end result, though it might seem like a tedious and time-consuming task while doing so. Nevertheless, we writers push through because we love stories and writing! πŸ˜‹πŸ“š Best of luck on your research for your WIP, Camilla, and thank you for your comment! πŸ˜„πŸ’•

  • AHHHHHHH, this is such an exciting post, Zoie! I am thrilled to hear about your novel for the first time and I am excited to hear more about it, hopefully in the upcoming weeks.
    Taking a break IS great. I didn’t take such a long break from my WIP – well, I wrote the first draft in late 2015, then took a break from it until late 2016. I finally finished my second draft in 2017 and now, after a break of four months, I feel like I am ready to re-read what I did and see how it is. It’s exhausting and scary and just like you said here, Ifeel like my characters lack substance, lack dimension overall, same goes for my world-building and basically everything else. IT’s not good enough, it’s missing… I don’t know, but it’s missing something.
    ANYWAY I am SO excited for you to work on your story again, I hope you’ll share more of your writing journey! <3
    Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books recently posted…Talking about writing and some aesthetics : winter is here write tagMy Profile

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement, Marie!! πŸ˜† I feel so refreshed after my break from working on my WIP, and now I feel like I can finally dive into editing — but with a new set of wiser and more experienced eyes πŸ™‚ I didn’t realize that I was lacking this a year ago, but I was actually lacking life experience, which obviously can only be gained by living your own life and growing up. I’m trying to be more patient with my story and give it enough breathing room to unfold on its own as I edit it. Stories from the heart seem to operate on its own timeline of completion instead of any external ones 😊

      I hope you find what you’re story is missing… I’m sure the answer is there, but it just needs time to show itself 😊 Good luck with writing!!! βœοΈπŸ“š

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