Leaving a Story Behind

Yesterday I made an incredibly difficult decision. After six years – six – of working with and struggling through an idea, I shelved a story.

Some quick background: I started this story freshman year of college. I never plot things out thoroughly, so I just wrote.

Long story short: I had to rewrite about 40,000 words. During those 40,000 words, I found I had to rewrite the previous 10,000 words. On and on it went, until six years later when I started a clean draft, keeping everything else as reference text.

Then there was yesterday. After staring at the screen in frustration for about 20 minutes, I resigned myself to the inevitable. I needed distance. A lot of distance.

So I shelved it.

It’s difficult, but mostly I’m just relieved. Which kind of makes me feel guilty.

Did you ever have to shelf something that just wasn’t working? What helped you? Any and all advice appreciated!

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