How to Know When To Stop Writing

I know what you’re thinking. Here I am, blogging about writing, and now I’ve got you reading a post about how to stop writing. Hold on now, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.

I’ve spent the past five weeks plotting out Book #4 in the Dugan Siblings series. It’s Kieran’s story, and it’s one I want to tell. But no matter how much I tried to follow Rachel Aaron’s steps and write out characters, I just wasn’t excited about where the story was going. The conflict didn’t seem conflict-y enough, the plot seemed forced, and I found myself staring at the pitiful 3000 words I’d written, not excited about writing more.

So I stopped writing.
Here’s the thing: sometimes when you’re writing a novel, you sometimes have to force yourself to write, but you shouldn’t force the story along. Sitting your butt in a chair and writing is hard – but at the end of the day, you should be proud of what you’ve written and excited to write more.
What you should NOT feel like is dread. Dread of having to write another chapter. Dread of the crux of the conflict to your story. Dread that you just don’t like what you’re writing. Because if YOU, the creator of the novel, don’t like it, I can guarantee your writers won’t either!
I was feeling this dread when I even thought about writing Book #4. So I stopped, set it aside and immediately felt a sense of relief. No one is forcing me to write this book. And the good (and sometimes frustrating) part about being a writer is there’s always an understudy book waiting in the wings to be written. I came up with an idea a few months ago for my next book, and once I gave myself the chance to write it, I was excited again, thrilled even to be telling a story that I wanted to tell.
I promise I’ll tell Kieran’s story someday. But for now I’m really excited about the story I’m working on, and more importantly I’m excited to be excited about writing again. Because that’s what it should feel like.

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