Saturday, October 7, 2017

Is It Okay to Give Up?


We all have that one story. The one which you love one moment, then hate the very next. The story which makes you want to rip your hair out, or throw the manuscript into a bonfire. Or highlight every single word and click “delete”.


We’ll call this Trouble WIP.


I would call myself a very stubborn person. So when I first met Trouble WIP, I thought I could handle it. After all, I’m always up for a challenge! (So long as I can conquer it.) I decided to write Trouble WIP. At first it was all bliss, holdings hands, and dancing through meadows. “This will be my first published book!” I declared to myself. “It’s amazing!”


Long story short: I got some feedback on Trouble WIP, and the reader very kindly pointed out its flaws.


I was devastated.


I didn’t touch the file for months. I wallowed in self-pity and self-doubt and decided that the story wasn’t worth it. Then near the end of last year, I went back through it. I fell in love with the story again.


You might think that this is the point of the post when I turn around and say: “I didn’t give up on the story! Now it’s actually amazing! So don’t give up on your story!”


Well, here’s the thing: I gave up. Again.


More feedback came in, feedback that made me realize that this wasn’t the right time for this story. That maybe this story needed to close, to be another memory that someday I’ll write about in “My Writing Journey”. I gave up on the story. Gave up on the dream that Trouble WIP would reside on bookshelves.


Giving up? It’s okay.


Some people might be squinting at me right now, unconvinced, or maybe there are question marks in your mind. Let me explain.


“Giving up” has such a negative spin on it in this age. If you give up, you’re a failure. You’ve committed a grievous sin because NO ONE SHOULD EVER GIVE UP. Friend, to apply a singular negative mentality to the action of stopping something, isn’t being fair.


I did give up on my Trouble WIP. But not in the sense that I screamed at it, burned it, deleted it from existence. I gave it up to God. Sitting there, days after being hurt from the feedback, I let go. Of the story, of the dream.

For me, there is giving up on yourself, and there is giving something to God.


Those of you who may follow my blog know that I don’t often discuss God in relation to my writing, even though I love Him dearly. For me, there are some aspects of my relationship to Him that I prefer to keep very private. But in this world, this age, it is so easy to become lost in our desires and wants.


“I want to publish this book.” “I want more followers.” “I want, I want, I want…”


When we give our dreams and wants to God, we become free. (Friend, if you don’t follow God, consider it to be letting go of your previous wants of the past, and focusing on the future.) Sometimes the story we are working on, Trouble WIP or not, is a stepping stone in our journey, not the treasure we find at the journey's end. Important, but not quite what we’re looking for.


Giving up something you work so hard on is incredibly difficult, but in some situations, it can be for the best.


If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this post it would be this:


Giving up on a story, on one piece of art, is fine, as long as you don’t give up on yourself.


There will always be another story to catch your attention and heart. But there will never be another you. There will never be another soul like yours that hums in a note not many can hear. When the day ends, stories are important, a part of your life, but they are not you. If they are doing more harm than good, let go of them. Give them up.

Giving up a story is fine. Giving up on yourself? That's like saying you’re not worth it.


You are always worth it.



What are some of your current writing struggles? Do you “give up” on stories a lot, or yourself? Do you agree or diagree with me? (Both are welcome for discussion!) Is there any way myself and the rest of the RW team can support and encourage you?


~~Melissa Gravitis~~

34 comments:

  1. This was beautiful, Melissa. Beautiful. I needed this.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad to be of help. <3 Thanks for commenting!

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  2. I often get frustrated with my writing and there have been two times I've (stupidly) threatened to quit writing all together. But the problem with that is writing has become a part of me. I need it like I need oxygen.

    I think you're right. At first, I was thinking of the little quotes that say, "You only fail if you give up." But you made excellent points and I think you've got it right. Giving up on ourselves is failing. Giving it to God is succeeding. Thank you, Melissa.

    This is very encouraging and a wonderful post. Y'all have done it again. :D

    ~Ivie
    iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    1. I feel the same way about writing; it's a part of me, both a need and a want. Don't worry, I've nearly given up on writing before too. It's a common thing, sadly, but part of the journey.

      You're very welcome. <3 I'm happy this post was encouraging and made sense (I always worry they don't!). Thanks for your kind words and for commenting Ivie!

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  3. Such an encouraging post, Melissa! Thank you!!! <3 <3 <3

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    1. You're very welcome! I'm glad it was encouraging! Thanks for commenting Gray! <3

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  4. This was priceless, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and encourage us <333

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    1. Nawww thank you Anna. <3 Glad you think so. Thanks for commenting!

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  5. This is amazing. <3 THANK YOU, MELISSA.

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    1. No, thank you! <3 Thanks for your kind words and for commenting!

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  6. A part of the creator is often inbued into the creation. I wonder if that is the reason that a lot of people can't give up their stories. It makes me think of our relation with Our Lord. He created us, and when one of us goes down the wrong path, I bet He feels the same way that we feel when one of our stories goes bad. The only difference is that Our Lord refuses to give us up.

    Excellent post, Melissa!!

    Catherine

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    1. Very true Catherine. I love the way you put that. I'm so glad He doesn't give up on us, ever. Thanks for your words and for commenting! <3

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  7. This was seriously such a good post!! <3 Thank you for this encouragement!!

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    1. Thanks Lilly! :) I'm glad it encouraged you. Thank you for commenting!

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    1. Thank you Penny, and you're welcome! Thanks for commenting! <3

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  9. Very well written, Melissa. And giving something to God is something we as Christians need to do every day--giving over our wants and our desires, taking up the cross and following Him. "For His yoke is easy and His burden is light." (which doesn't always feel like that! It is saying, "Thy will, not my will be done." Mature insights, Melissa.

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    1. Thank you Carol! It definitely is something we need to strive to do everyday, in every aspect of our lives. Thanks for your kind words, and for commenting!

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  10. Great wisdom and reminder here. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Jane! I'm glad it was a good reminder to you. :) Thank you for commenting!

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  11. Thanks so much for the wonderful post! It was amazing
    TeenWriter via www.weareteenartistsblog@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks! :D I'm happy you enjoyed it. Thank you for commenting!

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  12. YES. It's so easy to want to give up but if God has truly called us to something, we can't.
    It's so sad how so many good writers actually give up instead of striving on, when - from how good their writing was - they could have gone so far.
    Thanks for writing!

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    1. Yes, it's very sad when writers give up completely on their craft, rather than just the story that is giving them trouble. Their career and writing does not depend entirely on the success of one piece! Thanks for commenting, Kara! <3

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  13. Stunning post and so inspiring and encouraging <3 Thank you Melissa!

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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    1. Thanks Amy! Glad you think so, and you're welcome. :) Thank you for commenting!

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  14. Melissa, this was a wonderful post. Thank you for the reminder. I'm only a beginning and amateur writer, but it is so encouraging to read this. Thank you so much especially for your example of faith in God. That is the best part of this post. May we all do everything for the greater glory of God.

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    1. Thank you Sarah! I'm so happy this was encouraging to you. May you have the best of luck with your writing, and yes, may we do everything for His greater glory. Thanks for commenting! <3

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  15. I do struggle with sticking to first drafts, but I think that's usually just shiny-new-idea syndrome... But this was an excellent and thought-provoking post; thank you, Melissa!
    Jem Jones

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    1. You're very welcome Jem! :) Ah yes, shiny-new-idea syndrome is a common illness, don't worry. It's all about finding an idea that you can stick with for awhile, in that case. xD Thanks for commenting! <3

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  16. I've given up on quite a number of stories over the years. Some that I started and never finished because I hit some kind of flaw so vast it made the story unworkable. Some that I finished, set aside, returned to, and realized didn't work. Some that I'm still waiting for the right time to return to -- I guess I haven't given up on those ones so much as set them aside for now. Possibly forever, we'll see.

    There's no shame in realizing an idea doesn't work and letting go of it. In fact, I think that takes a certain amount of bravery.

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    1. Absolutely, there is no shame in that, only bravery. Letting go of stories is hard, but staying with them is only going to harm a writer more than help them if it's not going anywhere. Thanks for commenting, Hamlette! :)

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  17. I agree! Sometimes, when you let go of a WIP that's not working, it saves you time, avoids further frustration, and gets you moving in a new direction faster. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Definitely! If the story is frustrating you to a point where it's causing more harm than good, it's important to let it go. Thanks for commenting Izelle! :D

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