I hate wasting time.
It isn’t like I have a lot of it, you know? So when I sit down with my brain and mine it for words, that is time that I am not using to complete another task. That is critical time. And I know we all feel it.
Do you know what takes a lot of time? Writing a book. Like, so much time. So much energy. For weeks or months or even years, your brain space is constantly filled with people and places and stories that only you can know. It is maddening and magical all at the same time.
I recently wrote 30k words of a novel that I believed in. I loved the characters. I loved the setting. There is so much about it that was solid.
Today, I made the decision to abandon it.
How did I get there? And how, after 5 months, do you just… let go? I have been clinging to it since January because I felt like I needed to finish it. It was the right thing to do, right? I invested hours upon hours in this. I had people read it. They invested their time in feedback and listening to me dream up these people and figure out all the fixes.
It was a good story. But it wasn’t the right story for me. What I’d written did not align with my vision for my future body of work.
The time I spent on these characters and this town and these words is not a waste because I learned what I was not cut out to do. I learned what I did want to do. And, possibly most importantly, I’m a better writer now than I was 5 months ago. I have a better understanding of myself.
So. I may not use this story. I will pull elements that I love from it. Maybe this character I’ve lived with will breathe life into the next world I dream up. Maybe future characters will revisit the town I built.
It was not wasted.
On to the story that I am supposed to write. The one that brings me the most joy. The one that I cannot wait to read.
It’s okay to let go when it isn’t working. You don’t have to use it just because you made it. Strip it for parts and leave the rest.
Happy writing, everybody.
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About the Writer: Allie Gravitt is a mom of 3 and lives in metro Atlanta with a house full of animals and plants. Her debut poetry collection, prisonbreaks, and second collection Killing Ghosts are available now on Amazon. Follow Allie’s writing journey on TikTok and Instagram.