I’ve always had issues letting go of things and people. When it comes to things, I always either have sentimental attachment to the object or I’m convinced as soon as I get rid of it, I’ll need it. People are trickier. I don’t like hurting people, and the thought of letting people go who aren’t good for me hurts because I’m sure I’ll hurt them.
One of the hardest things I’ve learned as a writer, though, is when to let go of a project. It could be for any reason. You aren’t enjoying it. You aren’t the right person to write it. It sounded better in your head than you thought it’d be. Whatever the reason, it’s an important thing to learn.
I’ve finally come to accept this about some, if not most, of my writing.
I’m not deleting it permanently, because that’s not a good idea. I may not use the story itself, but I might be able to use bits I’ve written in other pieces I end up continuing. I created a subfolder in my writing folder called “Writing Graveyard.”
But I need to learn I am not a failure for this. I have so many ideas, but not all of them are going to work, and I’m learning to accept this as ok. It’s not a failure it didn’t pan out. It’s difficult, because at one point I was excited to explore these worlds and characters’ lives. Somewhere along the way, it stopped. It’s hard to accept this, but I have to.
Some of the items that are ending up in the graveyard (for now, anyway) are a science fiction story about an ableist dystopia; a modern-day retelling of the legends of King Arthur (though, I think this one might just be put on the backburner for now); a historic romance set in the Holy Land at the time of the crusades; and a cowboy romance.
I’m on the fence about whether or not my short story anthology needs to go into the graveyard. I desperately love two of the stories I’ve written. The rest, I’m not too enthusiastic about. I’m not sure if it’s still pandemic blues and burnout, or if it really is time to move on. Whatever it is, I hope that if it’s time to let it go, I recognize it and I can move on easily.
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