Digging out Your Old WIP: A Monster in the Closet?

In 2005, I wrote my first novel from beginning to end.  It was such a wonderful feeling to actually write those precious words ‘The End’.  Some time later I gave it to a writing friend to read to see what she thought of it.  ‘This is great – no brilliant’ was what she had written.  Buoyed by her response and her suggestions, I continued.  Four years later after numerous changes and edits, I took a couple of chapters with me to a workshop with Debra Adelaide, author of The Household Guide to Dying.  According to her, my protagonist was almost there, but not quite there yet.  Once again I continued tweaking the novel.  But after several years of editing and re-writing, I am now beginning to wonder if this one will ever see the light of day.

I’m sure you’ve heard of authors who talk about a particular novel or couple of novels that stay hidden away in some old drawer, never to be published.  They knew when to give up on them and continue with something else.  Some authors decide to go over their old hidden novels, brush them off and consider getting them published.  Perseverance, is after all, a requirement of becoming a writer.  But when do you actually decide that your novel isn’t working; that enough is enough?

My trouble is I continue to go over this particular novel because I need to tell it.  It is personal – after all, there is that old saying that an author’s first novel is usually autobiographical.  I continue with it despite changes in viewpoint, characters, plot development; I can’t let it go.  Perhaps I’ve been working on it for too long that it deserves to be hidden away (either short term or permanently), while I continue re-writing my other novels and begin new projects.

So how do you know when enough is enough with your own work?  Do you have any projects that will perhaps never see the light of day?

*And yes, in case you’re wondering, I am a perfectionist! 🙂

Free image by Victor Habbick courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Writing Buddies: Being Held Accountable.

A couple of months ago I made an important decision.  What I needed was a good kick in the pants to commit myself to writing.  The best way I knew of was to find myself an accountability buddy and who better for that role than my own husband?

When I first told my husband of my writing ambitions, he thought it was a good idea and was eager to support me, but I let him down.  I quit my job and for twelve months I wrote without having anything published.  I eventually went back to work on a casual basis until I became pregnant with my first child.  Years later, my writing became sporadic, only seeing the bottom of drawers rather than the light of day.  Clearly I was not taking my writing seriously.

In recent years, I have made a more determined effort.  My husband recently reminded me of the small successes I have made, reminding me also that others have given positive comments on my writing; in his own way trying to boost my confidence to keep going.  And it is his support, more than anybody else that I rely on.  He was the first person I trusted to tell about my writing, without feeling ashamed of having that ambition.  He was the very first to encourage me every step of the way.  My husband is prepared to be the sole bread winner while I try to make a success out of writing.  I owe it to him to persevere.

Of-course, now that he is my accountability buddy, he believes I need to show him my writing at the end of every day.  I tell him that it doesn’t always work that way.  Some days he needs to expect that I have been busy planning, thinking or researching in order to write.  I like to hear how his day has been at work; it’s only natural that he gets to hear about mine, no matter how boring it may sound.

Who is your accountability buddy?  Do you have the support of somebody you can trust?