If you are new to writing, there is going to come a point in most projects when you have had enough and want to quit. I know this after experiencing it many, many times. Writers I have read about say the same thing. Each person may have a different variation of this. Some may go through a period of doubt in which they do not believe that they can ever be a great writer. Others may become flustered after reading exciting pieces of literature and wonder how they could ever come close to that quality of writing. Your characters may be misbehaving or you may be going through a plot crisis and unaware of what your next move should be.
Similar to “writer’s block”, I refer to this as writer’s hell. You ultimately have two choices. You can either stop what you are doing or you can keep on going. There is no third road. Sometimes not having this third road is very difficult. It can make the environment seem closed off and without a way out. Maybe this is what is really needed, though. Just because the road gets tough does not mean that you should get off the road. At the same time, how do you know that you are on the right road in the first place?
This can be a problem. Books take a long time to write if they are written correctly. You want to give it your all. But there will come a point when you will be tested. One of two things will happen: you either pass the test or you fail the test. Passing the test will mean that you acknowledge the difficulty of your project, but you are willing to push ahead because you know that what you are hoping to accomplish (the ultimate vision you have) is worth it. Failing the test, on the other hand, means you acknowledge the difficulty of your project and understand that it is not worth it to continue on. The great thing about this test is that you can take it as many times as you want. Sometimes, you may take this test over and over again throughout a single day.
Here’s a hint for passing the test: figure out why you are working on your work. What about your project excites you? What makes it worth your time, energy, and dedication? Bad answers to this question include, “just because”, “it sounded fun at first”, “I wanted to try something different”, “I am writing the genre that is popular”, “I want to be famous”, “my parents said I needed to do something with my life”, “it doesn’t matter why”, and “I don’t know”. Answers that get higher scores include “because I can’t stop thinking about this subject/topic/character”, “I feel excited when I learn about this”, “I’ve never done something like this before”, “I love writing”, and “I believe I can make this great”. Still, there is only one answer that is probably the ultimate answer, and that is, “I can’t not write about this”. If this is your answer and you mean it, you will pass the test. Writers can differ in genres, writing styles, length, and writing rituals, but every writer that has completed their project has given this answer.
If this is not your answer, think about this some more. What is it that is stopping you from writing? If you feel that your story has become dead and you cannot get yourself to work on it with any enthusiasm, it may be time to give it up. There is nothing wrong with this. Writing is made of energy and life. Without energy and life in your mind, you cannot possibly hope to insert this into your work. Something that is great about writing is that you can always come back to it later on. This is not like a movie production, in which case quitting the project would mean all of the cast and crew would have to go home and work on something else. The cast and crew of writing exists only in your mind and you can access it at any point in time. If this is your moment to write, keep pressing on. If not, there are always other subjects and other moments.
Reader, if you have experience with this, feel free to share your story in the comments section below. Good luck to all writers out there.