After reading as much as I can about the literary journeys of different authors, I have come to the conclusion that writing success comes to those who have…mastered the art of finding their way back to their projects.
We leave our stories behind for a variety of reasons:
- We need to distance ourselves from them at the end of drafting.
- Beta reader criticism has started to sting.
- Rejections have broken our heart.
- We don’t think it is working as a story.
- We have lost faith in our abilities.
For whatever reason you bid farewell to a writing project, finding your way back to it can be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do.
Returning to a first draft which you finished writing a few months ago can be tough, especially when all those fuzzy, warm feelings have vanished.
Trying to find your way back to something which came under heavy criticism from beta readers requires bags of bravery.
Going back to a story which didn’t work the first time but you know you have to try again is challenging.
Finding your way back to a project which got a lot of rejections is character building. There are a few projects of mine which have been rejected and are now burning holes in my writing folders.
I ADMIRE all the writers out there who find their way back to projects, which were rejected, criticised, hated, broken or faulty and either improve them or turn them into something better. You are my heroes.
So, how do you master the art of finding your way back to a project?
You must hold a deep belief in your story.
No matter what happens you have to be your story’s biggest fan and you will do whatever it takes to get it out there.
To me, this is similar to the act of getting married. You must commit to your story and think, ‘in sickness and in health.’ I think this has been one of my issues. My belief in my stories wavers and I struggle to return to them.
You must be prepared to change, modify, cut up and hurt your story. Finding you way back to a project knowing you need to delete characters, hack the plot to pieces and reorder the timeline is HARD! Oh my goodness, I am welling up at the thought.
You also have to wrestle with your ego as it will be telling you all sorts of unwanted stuff.
You must be willing to accept writing success is all about playing the long game. Your story might not work now, but in twelve months time when you have grown as a writer, distanced yourself from it AND found your way back, it might set the world on fire!
Have you ever had to find your way back to a project?
Keep writing x