Why NOT Working on My Novel = Best Decision I Made 📚
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 pretty 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 spent 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 enough 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 I 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, 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! 😆
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!