Thursday, October 15, 2009

How do you know when it's time to move on

How do you know when it's time to do something else? How can you tell when what you're doing isn't working for you anymore?

My week has been full of these questions.

It connects to writing but also to every other phase of our lives. When do you give up on a relationship? When do you decide you've tried as hard as you can to make a job work for you?

Sometimes you don't have any choice. Sometimes whatever it is comes up and kicks YOU out the door. The job you were thinking about leaving suddenly lays you off. The person you were beginning to think you could live without decides to leave you.

No matter what, when you leave something behind, there is a certain melancholy, even when it's something good for you. We too often look at the end rather than the beginning.

We are creatures of habit and want to continue doing what we're used to doing. But sometimes, we have to move out, move forward.

As writers, we sometimes find ourselves feeling trapped in what we're writing. An agent wants us to write mysteries but we yearn to write fantasy. We seem to be very good at writing nonfiction, but we want to write romance.

It is a trap of our own making, especially if you are successful, even moderately successful. What if we do something different and no one wants to read what we've written? What if we are dumped by our publisher or agent and left to manage alone?

Sometimes, we just have to let go and let ourselves move forward. We might be afraid. Maybe we'd rather keep things the same despite our yearnings. But if we want to grow, we have to step forward. We have to be willing to take chances.

Am I willing to take those chances?

Joyce Lavene

1 comment:

Michele Emrath said...

As a writer and constant knowledge-seeker I have the opposite problem: how do I convince myself to stick with something? I get bored in an instant, tired of a character within pages. I finish books within a day, two at the most. Any longer and the novel finds it's way to my "never-to-be-opened-again" stack. It's not because they are bad characaters or books or hobbies. It's because I am generally a quick-minded individual who likes things to keep moving.

I have been lucky in love and in life. And writing mysteries keeps things interesting for me...Though will I have the patience for the world of publishing? Ask me in a couple of years!

So for me it's not when to move on, but when to stick it out. And do they make a glue for that?

Michele Emrath