One of my new favorite podcasts is one that has very little to do with writing, but a lot to do with life. It’s called Freakonomics, and their tagline is a podcast “About the hidden side of everything.” Kinda vague, I know, as their topics can be quite random. However, there is one specific topic that prompted me to write for you, dear readers, today – The Upside to Quitting. You can find that episode here. Go check it out now, if you like.
I’ll assume you’ve listened to it, or at least have the gist. The point I wanted to make was taking this philosophy and applying it to writing.
How often have you written, been trying to write something and it simply would not budge? How often have you thought “If I can just keep at it, I’ll figure it out?” I know I have.
Imagine you have yourself a story you’ve been working on and thinking about for years. Maybe there are holes, the inner story just isn’t very good, or you’ve created characters that you just simply love. We’ve all heard the Kill Your Darlings routine, and there’s the phrase “Quitters never win, and winners never quit.” What I’m suggesting is simply to think of your stories, your novels, your characters, even (gasp) your genre, and invert that thought.
How likely would you believe that setting aside a project in its entirety, for the sole purpose of starting anew, might be the best creative decision you could possibly make?
It may be that you’re not in need of anything like this. Or, perhaps you are, but you don’t know it yet. The point is to think and consider other options. After all, what would you be writing if you weren’t writing your current project?