Coming To Terms With Some Stories We Write Are Simply Stepping Stones To Other Stories #Writers #Writing


One of the hardest things to come to terms with when you start writing seriously is that… not all your stories will work out.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but some will be rubbish. Every writer, regardless of ability, I believe, has an imaginary ‘rubbish story’ quota to meet. We all, at some point in our careers, have to hit this quota of rubbish, bin worthy stories.

Some of our stories will have potential, but will require a LOT of work on our part to discover that potential and bring it out into the light.

Some of our stories will break us and some will simply act as stepping-stones to other stories.

Sadly, these stepping stone stories won’t set the literary world on fire and they might not reach a second draft. They will still require blood, sweat and tears, which when looking back, will feel like a total waste of your time, BUT their existence is VITAL.

I think stepping stone stories are the unsung heroes of our writing world.

Without writing your stepping stone story, you wouldn’t have moved onto that project which proved to be THE ONE.

Stepping stone stories come to you with one purpose; to guide you towards something else.

Through the act of writing these stories, you will discover something new; a different take on your story, a new character, a minor plot thread which fascinates you or the creative spark for a totally new story.

You might even find a new style of writing or gain the confidence to write from a different POV.

When you look back in months or years to come, you will see that you had to write this story in order to get to THE ONE, which actually turned into something.

There were no shortcuts and you couldn’t have come up with the idea for THE ONE without writing your stepping stone story.

When you start to work with the idea of stepping stone stories you start to see how valuable they can be in other ways too.

Viewing your current story has a stepping stone to something else actually has its advantages.

I often get carried away with a story when writing the first draft. I get so excited and giddy in the early stages. All my hopes and sky-high expectations are placed on the shoulders of my poor story and when things don’t work out (my story sinks underneath all that pressure) I get upset.

So, I have decided to view all the stories I write as stepping-stones. I tell myself that I am simply working through a story for exploration purposes. I view it as a stepping stone to other things. It won’t be the one as in order to find that mythical story I have to write this one first. This story will give me the clues I need in order to find the one.

The stepping stone mindset takes the pressure off your story.

There are no ridiculous expectations placed upon it and I have found with my current draft, this has created room for more thinking time.

Nothing is wasted when it comes to writing. Trying to hit your rubbish story quota or working on your stepping stone stories are both valuable activities 🙂

I hope some of you can relate to my blog post and I hope you’ve experienced writing a stepping stone story.

Enjoy the journey folks! Leap across those stones.

Have a great day x

Posted by

Lucy Mitchell lives in South Wales with her husband, her two teenage daughters, a giant labrador and a gang of unruly cats. Lucy is the author of the award winning blog, BlondeWriteMore and was a Featured Romance Author on Wattpad. When she’s not working or writing, Lucy can be found listening to audiobooks in a muddy field with her dog or sat outside her local pub in the sunshine enjoying a glass of wine. Her debut novel Instructions Falling In Love Again is OUT now and already pulling in some fabulous reviews ❤️

26 thoughts on “Coming To Terms With Some Stories We Write Are Simply Stepping Stones To Other Stories #Writers #Writing

  1. Interesting idea, Lucy. I know what you mean. There are so many versions of this aren’t there? May fav is the short story that everyone including you thinks merits an extension to something longer. The characters have depth, the idea can go in all sorts of ways. And you set off and…. it disappears into a blackhole of words and confusion. But you keep it because one day you’re sure you’ll work out where it will go. Sigh.

  2. I love it. No writing is wasted. Sometimes it won’t be seen by anyone else, but we cut our teeth and hone our skills every time we sit down to create something from thin air.

  3. Great post (as always!) When I was working on novel one, it broke my heart at times to think that all that time and passion could result in still not ever getting it published. But as I work on novel 2, and ideas have formed for future projects, I can see how novel 1 shaped every aspect of my writing, and how if it is never the novel that gets me published, then it is definitely a stepping stone to my future progression. I love the way you capture so many thoughts and feelings and aspects of being a writer. ❤

  4. I am presently up to my chin in such a WIP. bY RIGHTS, I should shove it into a drawer and try something else. BUT… I know there is good stuff in there, hiding beneath the dross. I just need to prune back to it and polish it until my arms drop off!

  5. I think the problem with stepping stone stories is that we don’t know they’re stepping stone stories until we finish it (or hit a wall) and move on to the next story. My current published work started as a stepping stone story and it nearly broke my heart when I had to junk it and then start all over again. I was able to keep the characters, but the story became something completely different. Only a writer understands that sometimes it’s easier to “kill your darlings” than to give up on them.

  6. I just weeded my backlist for this very reason. When I was writing those early novels I couldn’t imagine shelving them (even though they weren’t great) simply because of all those hours and hours of work. Writing is such an emotional process. I thought if I didn’t post those projects all of that work would have been in vain. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the value of those stories was not in how many copies I could sell. The value was in the process of writing them in the first place. I think approaching a new project with the mindset you suggested is a great idea to take the pressure off.

  7. I gave up on my current one a few years ago but it just wouldn’t go away. There was something about it that continued to draw me in.

    After playing around with one idea that fell flat I came upon another idea that worked. It took some time and a complete overhaul of the protagonist but now I see it. Now I have something to work with.

    This is a great topic. All of us have experienced this at one time or another.

  8. I think this is why I write flash fictions – several made me think there was more here, more to this world. But it’s not until I’ve explored it more that I feel it really is a novel in embryo. And with my track record of first drafts to date, maybe more of the novel should stay as flash fictions until we get to the compelling action!

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