This originally appeared on The Writing of a Wisoker on the Loose in May 2011.
It’s time to give up on your writing project.
Not exactly the advice you’re used to, is it? We get encouraged to live our dreams, to pursue our visions, to bring that Big Project we’re working on to completion. We invest our time in creating that book series, that novel, that script, at times to the exclusion of all else. We’re told to work — not told to give up.
Now, I am all for pursuing The Big Project. I do it myself. I’ve got my plans, my projects, my books — just as you have yours. However, as much as I’m for passion-driven work, I think right now it’s time for you to give up.
Not forever, just for a while — maybe.
I want you to set aside your big novel, your big series, for just a moment. I want you to put it on hold. Go on, just entertain the thought for ten minutes of just ending that gigantic writing project (or collection of smaller ones) that’s occupying your time and your mind.
What would you do if you dropped Your Big Project? What would happen if you stopped writing that book, planning that script, plotting that series. What would you do next that matters to you (or in some cases that pays you)?
Try writing it down on a piece of paper and see what comes to mind. Don’t be inhibited, don’t worry (you can always shred it later). Just put pen to notepad and write down what’s next when Your Big Project goes away.
When you’ve spent that ten minutes without Your Big Project in mind, what did you learn? What surprised you? What motivates you? What doesn’t motivate you? How did life feel without that huge endeavor in your head — or hanging over it?
Did you miss it — or were you glad it was gone?
Now and then we get too involved in our plans, plots, writing, and dreams. We forget why we’re doing it and why we care. The next deadline looms, the next release is upon us, and we’re feverishly working away and forget why. Sometimes we have to step back and give up in order to find out just why we haven’t given up.
In order to find out why we haven’t given up, we need to give up just to see what we think, what we’d do — and what we’re really feeling and contemplating behind all of that work.
I find that most of the time when people give up their Big Project for a while, they realize just how much they do care, how much they love it, how much they can do. We have to step away in order to get perspective and to remind ourselves just who we are and what we do.
If you find you really do hate Your Big Project? Well, then at least you know it and can admit it and can figure your next plans. Maybe you do give up – or maybe you soldier on and then radically change the next stage of your plans, but at least you know.
Giving up. It’s a great way to make progress.
Steven Savage in his own words:
I’m Steven Savage, and I am Geek 2.0.
OK … that sounds either pretentious or obscure, and I try not to be either too much. So what do I mean by Geek 2.0?
Geek 2.0 is a lifestyle. It’s about taking the geeky values of technology, knowledge, creativity, and media as far as possible. It’s a way of life – and a way of contributing to society.
I believe in taking Geekiness farther – into the next iteration, into 2.0.
Steven Savage is the author of the Fan to Pro blog and books (Unlocking Career Insights With Your Hobbies; Convention Career Connection; Focused Fandom: Cosplay, Costuming, and Careers; Focused Fandom: Fanart, Fanartists, and Careers; Inhuman Resources; and Progeek Rising), has his own web site, and incidentally is the mind behind the popular Seventh Sanctum site. He also writes for Nerd Caliber and Comics Bulletin.