I’m not a quitter by nature. I’ve experienced some pretty difficult trials and I’ve fueled (or reclaimed) my motivation despite severe challenges. Even so, I know there are times we must stop, change tactics, reverse course, or just plain ol’ give up.
A rough draft is an experiment. It’s a test to see if a story will work. We pour ourselves into the work, with or without a plan, and feel our way around until we come through the other end. But, even when we manage to make it to the other end, sometimes the experiment just doesn’t work.
There are times you can revise your way through to a workable draft. There are times you can stuff a story into a proverbial drawer until your skill rises to the level of your vision. There are times when you can work away at it until the solution rises up from your subconscious and reveals itself in the light of day.
But there are times when you produce a dud that stays a dud no matter what you do. There are times when an experiment goes awry or collapses under the weight of its own poor design. There are times when the story you thought you had escapes you entirely.
There are times when, after a break, you read your own work and you can realize it’s potential. There are times when you simply realize that it doesn’t have any.
How do you decide which is which? When do you chide yourself for being too lazy to make the story work and when do you let it go without guilt?