For the past 3 years, I’ve been struggling with setting aside the stories that I wrote for my graduate school thesis in order to focus on writing new material. There is one piece in particular I feel has tremendous potential but was rejected 4 times in a row.
Since the 4th rejection, I’ve been stuck with how to make the piece better because I feel like it is already complete and conveys its message.
At the same time, I’ve been reluctant to move on to a new project for fear of receiving the same level of criticism and rejection I received for this story. I’ve been avoiding starting something new because I don’t want to get stuck on trying to make it better than it is for publication.
So I continued trying to revise my grad school story, taking into consideration every single piece of advice or feedback I received from my classmates and other willing readers. It has been painful not only because I was at a loss for how to make the story, but because I was reluctant to start something new.
About 3 weeks ago, I had a conversation which got me to reassess what my goals are as a writer and thinking about the kind of stories I want to write.
During that same conversation, I began summarizing an example of a story I wanted to create (an idea I’ve had for years which I’d abandoned or never pursued). And just talking about it was enough to get me outlining a story that same night.
I’ve been outlining and writing for a minimum of 20 minutes per day ever since. And even though I’ve fallen off the wagon twice, it’s been a long time since I’ve been excited to create something new and feel like I’m on my way to something.
So don’t be afraid to move on and create something new from scratch. Dwelling on the stagnant and the things you’ve already created won’t help you. If you just can’t find a way to possibly improve on something anymore, let it go.
Moving on to something new will keep your creative inclinations fresh and may give you the time you need to approach what you’ve already written with brand new eyes. Give it a try, I’m glad I did so far!