|Photo credit: davidking on Flickr|
Sometimes you know right away, so it’s not quite as difficult to put it away, but sometimes the realization doesn’t come until months of writing and editing and rewriting and submissions. And it’s hard. It’s hard having to accept that maybe this book you’ve spent so much time on, this book with characters you love and a plot you thought could actually work is in fact not working.
It happens to everyone, guys. And it’s ok.
I know I’ve mentioned this before in my post about why gatekeepers aren't evil, but I want to talk about the writer side of it. I want to tell you that I know it’s not easy to shelf a novel, but it doesn’t make you a bad writer. It doesn’t mean you’ll never write the one.
It just means you need more practice.
Don’t be discouraged if the book you thought would be the one, isn’t the one after all. Don’t give up just because you’ve written two or three (or however many) novels and you had to shelf them all.
And please don’t self-publish just to avoid putting your book in the trunk. That is absolutely not the reason to self-publish and you’ll be glad you didn’t later.
The fact of the matter is, at first anyway, your passion will not be equal to your skill. Your story might be great, your characters might even be fantastic, but your skill level won’t be there yet and that’s ok. These things take time and practice and practice and more practice.
And eventually, as long as you keep pushing, you will write the one. And it’ll be amazing—the best thing you’ve ever written—not perfect, but really good and you’ll feel it and you’ll know that the time is right. You’ve paid your dues.
The point isn’t how long it takes you to get there or how many books you write before the one is born—the point is that you keep going until you reach it. The point is that you accept every book you write brings you one book closer to the one.
Then, once your skill level is equal to your passion, you might find that you’re ready to go back and salvage the good from those stepping stone novels. You never know—with a little extra work, they might be the next one after all.
Have you ever had to shelf a novel? Are you glad you moved on? Tell me about it in the comments!