It has taken me a long time to accept this. When you start out as a writer, your ego assures you that ALL your stories will, at some point, turn into bestselling novels. You happily fill up an array of notebooks with stories, quietly confident, they will all feature somewhere in your future writing career. I mean why would you doubt your ego?
It is only after writing seriously for several years, you come to realise that not all your stories have made it out of your notebook (cue strongly worded letter of complaint to your ego) and more importantly, some were not supposed to.
Stories come to us for a number of reasons and it is naive to think every single one will grow literary wings and fly away.
A lot of stories come to teach us things.
In my experience all stories come with little self destruct devices buried deep inside them. At some point during the life-cycle of writing a story you will experience this device being triggered. You can’t escape this. Stories which don’t make it out of your notebook, because their little self destruct button was detonated on the third page of notes, were sent to make you practice getting back to your feet. Survive enough of these and you will be stronger when it happens to a story which has reached several drafts.
Some stories are sent to nudge you in another direction. Their reason for their existence was to simply make you take a different path. The reason why they never made it out of your notebook was because they served their purpose. You had been harbouring feelings for vampire fiction for ages and the idea for the vampire story didn’t quite work, BUT it made you want to follow your heart.
Some stories are sent to you in pieces and not all the pieces are delivered at the same time. Your notebooks might very well contain lots of failed stories, which were actually pieces of something much bigger. They didn’t work because you were never sent the instruction manual detailing how to fit them all together. These story ideas never made it out of your notebook because they were waiting for you to realise what was going on.
Some stories are sent to you in a confused state. They don’t know what they are or what they want to be. These stories are like puzzles. With enough time and patience you might one day strip back the layers to see what is underneath but for the time being they will remain in your notebook.
We all have notebooks of stories which never grew wings but don’t ever view these with a failure filter. These stories came with an important purpose and one day you will appreciate their efforts.
Just keep writing x