Over the last few weeks, I decided to stop writing my WIP because there were too many problems. Instead of giving up on it like my inner critic bated me to do, I decided to start from the very beginning and I am loving it! It honestly isn't as scary as one might think and has been so beneficial for me. I hope that reading this post may help you decide not to give up on your WIP but to go about it in another way.
Last year I was working in a law firm full time and studying at night. I would spend every second studying when I wasn't working or attending my classes, which meant I didn't see my friends or exercise for a long time. However, every waking moment I would be thinking about my story and my characters and for over a year this idea just wouldn't die. When I stopped working for the law firm early this year, I decided to make a change. I declared to myself and to my loved ones that I wanted to be a writer. It was a shock to most people because I was so secretive about my craft and most people did not even know that writing was a passion of mine. The point is, during all the hard times I had to endure my story still pulsed strong in my veins even when I had no inclination or time to write. I know that this story is special. It is something that will not leave me until I get it down onto the page and that is why when things weren't working, I decided to start again and do it correctly.
By starting off as a pantser, it meant that I did no world building, I did no character development and I did not plot. I was writing blind and once I started being semi-serious about it I made a rough plot. As I started writing everything became more developed and I became acutely aware of issues I was having in my story. I began to curse my pantser ways and realised plotting is for me. I ended up re-plotting three times as I continued writing and each time it got better and better. However, there was a nagging feeling and I thought that splitting up my story would help because it was too much for one book. In the end it did help a lot, but in the end it just wasn't enough. I always knew I would need to start again and do all the prep work I negated doing originally, but it would mean that I would have to stop writing for a time. This year, I felt drunk on progress and so I didn't want to stop writing, so I put it off. Yet, once my story started looking like I scotch taped miscellaneous storylines together (because I don't edit until the first draft is done) I realised I couldn't keep going like this.
I decided to take my own advice and complete my encyclopaedia for my story (click here to see more). It is a book all about your story, your characters and your world, plus anything else you want to add. It helps you collate everything you need to write your story and stores it all in one easy to read place. I have started working it after a few weeks off writing and I am so excited. I am finally doing what I should have done and I feel giddy at all the things I am learning about my characters and how I have subconsciously linked it up to points in my plot. It is also helping me understand my world and how to make it more three dimensional. Not only this but it is also assisting me figure out the layout of the future books in this series. I am so happy that I have done this and I know that my book is being benefited immensely from this do-over.
I truly believe that with WIPs you must be stubborn and you cannot let yourself give up if you know that what you are working on is something special. As an author you must do what needs to be done, and if starting again is necessary do not be afraid and take the plunge. I hope this helps you fulfil your dreams.