do I want to continue my WIP??

I’ve talked a bit about my WIP on here, aka Queer Bookish Novel, aka QUEENS OF GEEK meets INKHEART. I started working on it last November for NaNoWriMo and got halfway through, then dropped it until basically this summer, when I tried to get myself to work on it again. I wrote a little bit, but most of my “working on the novel” has been planning and reading about how to outline and trying to outline but not really outlining. All of the struggle that I’ve had with this WIP has made me start to wonder if I really want to continue working on it or if I should just shelve it. This post is basically a compilation of my thought process about this damned novel that I’ve been trying to write in a lame attempt to figure out if I should keep working on it or shelve it.


I can’t decide: happy queers or sad queers?

Obviously if my queer characters are sad, it isn’t going to be because they’re sad about being queer. But still, I feel weird and kind of guilty about writing sad queers because there’s so many books of sad queers and not enough fluffy queers. I feel kind of obligated to write fluffy queers, and the new outline-ish thing I wrote of act I of the book is based on the story being fluffy. However, I initially envisioned the book as being sad and I’m having a hard time letting go of it because it was partially based on emotions that really happened to me after my friend died. I think I’m holding onto that so much because I haven’t had anywhere to write or anyone important other than therapists to tell about how I felt when that happened, and I feel like it needs to be told.


Thinking about writing it fills me with dread.

I don’t know if this is because I’m afraid of actually writing, which makes no sense because I KNOW that when I write I feel like I’m doing “the right thing” (no pun intended). Things just fall into place and feel right when I am writing, no matter what it is. It feels like something I’m supposed to do. But right now, when I think about continuing this WIP, I’m filled with a sense of dread because I’ve attached so many hopes and pressures onto it that I can’t let go of and just let myself write it because I simply want to write.


I have other ideas

I also have a couple other ideas for books that don’t fill me with dread because they’re not based on real life and I don’t have any pressures attached to them. I just want to try them for fun. I’m worried I’m wasting time on something that fills me with somewhat despair when I could be working on something that brings me joy and allows me to experiment with writing something not tied to my own life.


I’m afraid of finishing something

I’ve written only two half novels so far, and ended up shelving the first one, and am now thinking of shelving the second. My therapist once asked me if I’m afraid of finishing a novel, and I think she actually hit on something correct there. I’m afraid of what happens when I finish and all the work that I’ll have to put in when I finish a draft. I’m afraid of not knowing really what happens when I finish. I’m afraid of committing to something that much creatively when it might not work out or take me anywhere I want it to take me. I’m not totally sure why I’m afraid of finishing a novel, but those are some of the reasons that come to mind.


I’m kind of afraid I can’t do it.

I’m also getting worried that maybe I can’t actually finish a novel. Maybe I’m cursed to write half novels forever and ever. I’ve never finished a book that I started writing before because I haven’t been able to discipline myself into doing so, because I’m afraid of what happens after. This makes me wonder if maybe I should force myself to work on this idea, even though it’s starting to stress me out to think about it, just so I can convince myself that I can finish a book.


Basically, this novel is starting to fill me with dread and stress and anxiety. Thinking about it makes me so stressed and I feel bogged down with worries about it that are keeping me from writing it at all. I feel guilty shelving another novel, but it seems like that might be the right thing to do. I don’t know. Have any of you struggled with these things? Did you overcome them? Do you have any sage writerly advice for me?

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  1. It’s a tough choice to make. I have shelved W.I.P’s in the past, and actually come to regret it a little. They say you learn more about writing in finishing your story, and having finally completed one, struck through the difficulty of it, and edited it endlessly, I agree. I feel more confident going into new projects now. Maybe complete it simply for the experience then move on to your new ideas? Although the main thing is that you do what YOU want. You can always come back to it a few years down the line and maybe be even stronger for it <3 Good luck, let us know what you decide x

  2. Personally, I would say to finish it! Whether you end up publishing or not. Or you can always keep it aside to continue it later! Personally, I experience a lot of nervousness during my writing journey which I think is because I always expect my first draft to be perfect. Whatever you choose, I wish you well with it! <3

    1. thank you! I’m not used to being this emotionally invested in a project and haven’t felt this way about anything for a while, so I think that might be part of what’s stressing me out about it. But maybe that’s a good thing that I’m so attached to it. we’ll see! <3

  3. It sounds to me like you’re pretty emotionally invested in this WIP, and I say that is a GOOD THING. If it feels important to you, then I think it’s a *sign* the story needs to be written. Also, I don’t know if you’re a writer who is willing and/or able to work on more than one WIP at a time, but there is no reason why you can’t at least tinker around with your other ideas while working on this one! Ultimately, it’s up to you, but if it’s causing too much distress it might be a good idea to put it aside for a little while. Best of luck with it all!!

    1. I guess I hadn’t thought of things that way. I think I feel like I’m *too* emotionally invested in it, if that’s possible for a writer to be too invested in something they’re working on. The problem is, I don’t know which version I’m more emotionally invested in.

      I also hadn’t considered writing/working on multiple WIPs at once. I don’t know if I’m a writer who can do that yet, so I suppose I might as well give it a try!

      thank you for your thoughtful and helpful post! <3 <3

  4. You could shelf it for now, and come back to it later? Maybe it’s a bit too personal right now, and you’ll feel less dread, anxiety and stress in the future when you come back to it. Just do whatever you’re comfortable with ❤️

  5. I think I know how you feel. My WIP is an OwnVoices and I have worked on it for almost 4 years because sometimes it makes me sad. But i’m glad I stick with it even though I had other projects in mind because it was my first novel and I was learning how to write with it and it was a personal challenge finish it. cannot believe I’m editing the first draft now and even working with two beta readers! A milestone I never thought I would achieve at least with that first WIP. So I would say finish it! 🙂 Good luck and looking forward to your next update 🙂

  6. I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling this way – I know that feeling all too well. Maybe the best for you right now would be not to force things, to put it aside and keep it in a corner of your head to grow a little bit on its own? It seems like a project that’s really close to your heart, but maybe you’re not completely ready or can find the right way of going with it right now? My advice would be to maybe try and put it aside, try and write something else and if it’s your heart project, you will come back to it for sure. I get the “putting tons of pressure on yourself”, I am doing that too all the time and it’s not fun at all, it makes trying to write something you dread more than something you enjoy. Like I saw the amazing Michelle say below, maybe it’s a bit too personal and too much for right now, after a time away from it all, you might be able to come back with it with a bit less anxiety <3 <3 I wish you the best of luck <3

  7. I say shelf it for not not forever. Maybe take a look at your first novel and see if it is something that you might be interested in picking back up. If you have other ideas go with them..Sometimes you need space from something that you are writing because you can get to caught up in it. At least that is what I found. You can start 100 drafts but all you have to do is finish the one that feels the best for you. If it is causing you stress then its not worth pursuing at this time.

  8. I am writing my first novel. I don’t even know how to write a book- never took a creative writing course. After my first draft, which I finished about a week or so ago, I took a break. Soon, I will venture into my second draft, which is scary, but exciting- I don’t even know what a second draft is. I have to be careful with my book- after all it is a children’s book for 8-12 year olds.

  9. I haven’t written a novel yet (I still cant get past outlining things as I’m a terrible decision maker). If you are struggling with this one it might be good to try one of the one your are less worried about as a break? There’s no harm in leaving a draft unfinished as it is just that, a draft. You can easily come back to it later, and I know of so many authors who have shelved a WIP only to use parts of it in a different project or to come back to it later with more expertise and make it exactly what they want. In writing it is all about practice. You’re not just going to whack out an award-winning novel on your first try, you just have to keep writing until something finally sticks. All practice is good practice, but good luck with whatever you decide 🙂

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