More than a year. That is how long this teen writer has been working on her book. No doubt it's been sort of painful. But through all the monotony, the frustration, the epic Pre-Writing Syndrome tears, it's been a freakin' amazing trip.
Autochromatic has taught me how to write. A more well-adjusted person probably would have called it a practice novel and moved on, but once as a kid, I refused to wear anything but my Pokemon shirt for two weeks straight. So... YEAH.
Beyond total stubbornness, there are some common road-blocks in novelling that I've learned not to view as signs a project is d00med. Like Goldilocks, Goldiwriter will encounter her too-small chair, too-cold soup, and her too-hard bed. Problemos, yes - reasonos to quit, nah. Here's the twisty fairytale:
The story's too small. Your idea brain is SO not putting out, and it's usually a total ho. (Sorry, idea brain, it had to be said.) Still, with some convincing - and that could take weeks, months, even marriage (crap!) - it will give you something to work with eventually. And man, when it does? Hello, story of the century.
The passion's too cold. Passion is pretty tough to pinpoint. You can be revving to bring your story to the world in the morning and stuck in a bottomless pit of apathy that same night. Basically, passion comes and goes like creativity, and that Go period can last just as long as a birds-singing-in-the-treetops Come period. The key is to be there when the cartoon birds start belting, so you can sing along. Hell yeah, you know you want to.
The writing's too hard. This can be brutal. What are you, a Twilight fangirl who's forgotten how to scream for Edward? It always passes, though - whether by staring at the screen for 2.5^4x10 hours or taking a relaxing writing sabbatical. And then... watch out,
So is it always uncool to write off a project as unworkable? No way. Sure, we're all scrawny nerds who can't climb the rope sometimes, but this isn't gym class, where surrender means abject humiliation. (Why, gym teachers of America, why?) Surrender means a new story - A.K.A. a whole new world of radness.
A project isn't going to work out... when A PACK OF BEARS MAULS YOU FOR TRESPASSING. Uh, more specifically, when you'd rather get mauled by a pack of bears than keep working on that manuscript.
It happens, y'know? If this is a book you've already invested time in, it usually ain't a lack of story, or of passion, or of writing oomph - 'cause dude, trust me when I say that those problems bug off eventually. But a storm of violent [depression/hatred/need to rage at that innocent telemarketer even though he's just trying to make an annoying living] when you're forced to work on a manuscript probably isn't the best source of creativity.
In the end, the scale of whether or not a project's working is a flexible one. Maybe Goldiwriter shouldn't have been looking for a perfecto, trouble-free manuscript - because maybe trouble is what makes the whole trip amazing.
Just try to avoid those bears, all right? Sweet. When do you know not to quit yet? And when is it okay to do?