When to STOP trying

As the mother of four children, I have seen the whole gamut of efforts made towards a task. A couple of them give up way too easily, one tends to last a lot longer in what I would consider an average amount of tenacity, and one of them I worry at times will kill themselves from their persistent, never-say-die pigheadedness. Sometimes I see the same qualities in writers.

Don’t give up yet

The problem with being good is that you make it look easy. How many of us watch figure skaters and think we can learn a triple salchow in no time even though we’ve never stood on skates? The same applies to writing. The more books you read, the more you think, “I can do that. Geez, I can probably even do it better!” And then you sit down to write and realize it’s not quite as easy as it looks. Don’t give up! There are writing classes you can take and writing-craft books you can read to hone your skills. I know it’s difficult to be an adult learner who hates to be humbled by not knowing something but put that pride aside for the sake of your dream to write a book.

Three feet from gold - When to STOP trying

You’re almost there

Have you ever heard the story about the guy who stops digging when he’s three feet from gold? If you are a mother who gave birth or have ever witnessed a birth, you may be familiar with the stage of labour where the mom screams out that she just can’t do it. This happens so often in the book publishing process that I can time my watch to it. It could be just from pure tiredness. Then take a small break with a clear deadline to get you back to work. It could also be, and most likely is, that your Resistance or Inner Critic is starting to get afraid of potential change and leaving the comfort zone. No matter the reason, reach out to someone who holds your goal as dear as you do, such as your writing coach or your editor. Give it one final push!

Okay, it’s time to hand over the load

Some of you are self-starters, go-getters, and insist on learning the inner-workings of everything you touch. That is great! However, when you keep circling the drain, are out of energy, and out of ideas, it’s time to ask for help. You don’t want to get to the level of frustration where you give up on your project completely. You can ask a beta reader to give you a critique. You can ask a developmental editor to give you a manuscript assessment. You can hire a ghostwriter. You can hire a writing coach, such as myself, to guide you around your stuck places and bring you to typing “The End.”

Don’t let the title of this blog post fool you. I am not at all suggesting anyone gives up on their book. In fact, I want you to keep trying until you’re done. I just want to make sure you are trying effectively. When something isn’t working, try something different. Let’s not forget the wise words of Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

If you find yourself starting and restarting your book, get a solid start by downloading my free Outline eBook – it’s where your book really begins.