How often does it happen that we decide to take breaks and then never return to the project we started? Quite often actually. We, as writers, decide that the project will never meet our expectations, or that there is a better, more urgent idea that needs to come first. This is a pretty common occurance and it can happen for several reasons, but it can be reversed.
This week’s lesson is: Keep Moving Forward.
The Disney movie, Meet the Robinsons had it right. As writers and creators we need to keep moving forward. This isn’t to say that we need to abandon those unfinished projects, or stay tied to them if we feel they are going nowhere. There are several ways to move forward, and whatever works best for you is the best way to move forward.
Sometimes moving forward with your project means going back to the beginning stages of writing. I can’t tell you the number of times I have returned to my very first outline and reoutlined or added several scenes. When you reach the end of one stage, it is often the beginning of the next stage. Just because you return to an old project, or restart another project does not mean you are moving backwards. Sometimes moving backwards is moving forward in terms of creation.
The opposite is true too. Sometimes moving forward is deciding to not continue a project, or idea. Still, last week’s lesson rings true. You can decide to stop working on a project, and decide that it isn’t working in the present time, but don’t throw it away. Years or decades later you could read through it and find a solution. There are several projects of mine that I have put on hiatus throughout my high school and early college years that only now, as I am working on a different project, I realize how they can all connect and how I need to finish several of them to make sense.
This lesson applies more to just writing too. To advance, we need to keep moving forward and keep learning and growing as individuals. Personally, I think about this a lot. This week especially, I considered deleting the entire blog challenge for this month and pretending like it never even existed. I decided that would not be honest of me. It is a blog challenge and though it was supposed to be in May, some of it might expand into June.
This lesson also rings true to me because I finally continued writing my novel this week. It’s the first words I have written for that novel since mid March. The story of that is long and complicated, with a lot of excuses to avoid it and work on other projects, but I came back to it. I know I have to keep moving forward with its progress. All throughout April and the beginning of this month, I have been distracted by other things, finals, essays and studying for my NCLEX to name a few, and I have had the urge to return to the first book in the series to edit, because that is the most comfortable option.
Sometimes, leaving a project is moving forward. In the case of my series, which is fluctuating between seven and nine books, if I continue to focus on the first book (which I have rewritten 3 times already), I will remain stagnant and it will take me decades to just publish one book. So, I am letting it sit and working on the rest of the series (more specifically book 2) to make it feel new again.
Moving Forward can mean several different things to several different people. To keep moving forward, just do what works best for you. Whether it’s going back to a previous project, or leaving a project to marinate.
Keep Moving Forward and making progress!