You’re writing your first novel. You get to page 155—155!—and then you stop, stuck. So you do more research. You wait, hoping that time will help. You reread it, because you need to keep all those complicated threads of plot straight in your head. Nothing helps.
Then you realize you made a plot error on page 86. Page 86. Everything after that has to be gutted.
The book sits for years, untouched.
Sound crazy? This is what happened to me. People stopped asking me when my book was going to be finished. And I stopped writing for years while that albatross sat on my shoulders. I dreaded even looking at those pages.
Eventually, there came a breaking point. I needed to write something.
So I started a story with no expectations. It felt so good to be writing again. I liked the people and what was happening in their lives and most of all, the joy of creating made everything in my life brighter. (That’s not to say there weren’t days and weeks of hair pulling as I wondered what was going to happen next on the page.)
Most of all, it didn’t count. It wasn’t the serious mindset of this is my first novel. It was fun.
But the joke was on me—that story grew and grew—and is now in the production stage as my first completed novel. Go figure.
Has something like this happened to you? Step away from the problem and start something new. Time will help you figure out if the first piece can be salvaged or not. And while you’re waiting, write something. It may surprise you.
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