There are some days, like today, that make me want to accept defeat. I tire of the constant struggle – the struggle to get out of bed, to go to work, to write – when all I want to do is give in and give up. I have felt that way today, especially with my writing. I have been working on my new project, a novel, and I feel like it’s a pointless endeavor. I know first drafts are crappy, that they are simply a means of getting thoughts into words and on paper and that they are meant to be refined. But I’m having a hard time seeing the potential of this work. I think the problem is that I am not as connected to this story as I was to the novella series. In the novella series, the titular character, Mara, is a metaphor for certain aspects of my life, so I am deeply connected to her and to her story. I know the protagonist of my novel pretty well, but I don’t have the bond with her that I have with Mara. That lack of emotional connection has me struggling to tell her story. I’m 28,000 words in, and I don’t want to give up, but I keep feeling this strong sense of defeat, like there’s no point to what I am trying to say. My husband keeps telling me that the story doesn’t have to have a meaning or a moral, that it can simply be an adventure story, but that is not the way I write.
What do you do when you reach a point at which you want to give up? When do you know whether or not you should? How do you find what’s missing from your story? How do you find that connection when you feel there is none?