I’ve been working on the same novel for nearly eight years. Yes. Let’s let that sink in for a moment. After considering that statement you might draw two conclusions. One, that I am slow and not intensely dedicated to the craft or, two, that I am not very good. These assumptions have some merit in one degree or another. Kids and family take precedence (as they should) so I set my book aside every once in a while. And, I’m still learning.
Though I have drafted several short stories, had blog posts or nonfiction articles published in blogs, websites and journals, I keep the Tale of Caelum as my main project. I have written draft after painstaking draft only to realize I need to roll up my sleeves and go through it again. So why do it? Why keep at this same project year after year after year? Why not give up and start something new? Why should you keep going on yours?
It has my/your name on it. I don’t want to create sub-par fiction. I don’t want to complete something and self publish it (I’m not against this. Just get a few professional opinions first). I want to keep writing and refining to become a master of the craft. This way, when I get to one of the other hundred story ideas I have, I do not recreate the same mistakes.
It’s a great set of stories. I’ve been told so. Not just by my family and friends who don’t want to hurt my feelings but by an agent and an editor. It is a good idea, a great series, and that is affirmation enough to keep working hard. Has someone you respect said this to you? That’s reason enough to keep going.
I/You have passion for it. At one time you thought about this book and forgot where you were going or what you were doing. You carried a journal with you and fleshed out ideas and problems for your characters to get into and out of only to find more problems. You talked with friends or family members about this great book. Getting back into it can be hard but that’s no reason to quit anything worthwhile.
Are there bad story ideas? Sure. Are there books better off not written? Of course. I am not talking about these. I am talking about your baby. Your STORY.
My challenge to you? If you’ve set down that work in progress, pull it out. Dust it off and set it down in the middle of a room. Walk around it with pen and notepad in hand. Think about it. Consider the problems and write them down.
Then get to fixing them.
Don’t give up.