Once you get started, it’s hard to stop, right? Well, sometimes. Starting a book and pouring your heart and soul into it is like starting a relationship and giving it your all. It’s exciting at first. You can’t wait to make the connection and spend time alone together. You’ll rearrange your schdule so you can spend quality time together. You’ll even avoid your family and friends so you can be alone with your significant other.
But what if, at some point, you just can’t follow through with it; your book, that is? What if you get 150 pages into writing your book and realize you’re just not feeling it. What if, once you really think about it, you’re sure beyond a doubt that readers won’t connect with your content, or you realize that you have simply changed your mind about the direction of the book?
There is a point at which you need to put yourself out of your misery and just stop writing that particular book. Maybe what you’ve written thus far was just an exercise to help you get in the mode of writing. Maybe the topic you chose was something you needed to get off your chest and it wasn’t intended to be the focus of a book.
Here are three ways you’ll know when it’s time to stop writing your book:
- You cringe when you think about writing. Journaling you can do. Writing a letter, or a blog post, or a short story ... you can do that, too. But the thought of writing another chapter of this book is killing you. Give yourself a break and let it go.
- You’re no longer connected to the content. What happens when you read what you’ve already written and it no longer moves you? Geez, if you’re not moved by the content in your book, it’s pretty likely that no one else will be. Give it some thought and if you honestly feel no love for what you’ve penned, drop it like a hot potato.
- The idea of quitting is refreshing. We've all heard the phrase, "Winners never quit and quitters never win." But, if your book writing process has been mentally torturous, and you actually feel relief when you think about quitting, then dump it. Cut your losses (time mostly) and move on to happier pursuits.
Notice there is no mention of what other people think of your book or your writing ability. Take no thought of the fact that there are other books out there with the same focus. Those are not reasons to stop writing. Instead, be in tune with yourself during your writing process and stay in touch with how you are feeling throughout the process.
Becoming an author can be exhilirating, exciting and enjoyable when you’re writing about what interests you and what you know. Becoming an author can also be frustrating when you’re forcing yourself to write about a topic that you find uninteresting or a topic of which you have little knowledge.
A word of caution: do not delete, trash, erase, shred, burn, or otherwise destroy what you have written. Trust me, those words, phrases, and concepts will come in handy at some point when you begin a different writing project. You might actually use what you’ve written for a blog post, essay, or some other project.
So there, you have permission from the Writer Extraordinaire to stop your writing project if it’s not bringing you the joy you thought it would. However, if you’re just feeling lazy and have a bit of writer’s block, go have an ice cream cone, then email me to request my free e-book, “Getting Unstuck.” It’ll do wonders for you.