Sunday, 13 August 2017

Not Giving Up


This week, I gave up on two things.

The first was a book:

When I was younger, I would plough through a book to the end, regardless of how badly written/boring/annoying it was, just because I felt I ought to finish it. I'm not sure why I thought this. Maybe it was because I'm from a generation that was taught to eat up all their dinner because there were starving people in the world (I never understood that one) or finish the egg and spoon race even when there was no longer an egg in your spoon.This week, I had no qualms in giving up on a book that had many high-scoring reviews but which, to me, had narrative that was amateurish and a formulaic plot. I have too many books waiting to be read to waste time on those that aren't entertaining me so I gave myself permission to leave it and start a new one.

The second was a future concert:

Earlier this year, I was encouraged by some members of my choir to join them at the Royal Albert Hall in November to sing The Messiah. I was in two minds (not really knowing the piece and not being very good at reading music) but agreed to give it a go. For three months, we've been practising and last week I gave it up. Why? Because it's hard and to sing it well would need more time commitment than I am able (or willing) to give. The main reason though is that I was just not enjoying it. I know I'm probably in the minority here, but I found the music and words all rather depressing. His 'yolk' might have been 'heavy' and his 'burden light' but my burden was massively lightened when I gave myself permission to give the concert up. Luckily, someone has taken my place. Someone who I know will get a lot more pleasure from it than I would.

But, in a week where I've given up two things, there's been something I haven't given up on (even when the going's got tough) and this has allowed me to say these magic words:


I'VE FINISHED MY SECOND NOVEL

Yes indeed - novel two has left the building and is with my agent. It's also been sent to the RNA New Writers' Scheme for a critique. Yay!

I could easily have given up after my agent suggested that novel number one (which I still love) be put aside so that I could work on a different project. I could have given up when new ideas wouldn't form. I could have given up when I got to twenty thousand words and stalled. I could have given up when I was nearing the end and thought 'I've been here before'... but I didn't.

Why? Because this is something that's important to me. Because I knew I had it in me to do it. Because, as I wrote the book, I fell in love with it and you don't give up on something you love unless there's a mighty big reason, do you?

I was going to try and find some inspirational quote to end this post but gave up (ha ha). Instead, I'll just say this:

If it's not right, if it doesn't give you enjoyment, if it won't alter your life unbearably if you give something up, then give yourself permission to do so. But, some things are worth pushing on with and fighting through the hard times for. If you love them enough, you'll know which ones they are.




41 comments:

  1. Great post, Wendy. And 'bestest' of luck for Novel #2. xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sometimes you just have to say 'no' to things, Wendy. Good luck with the novel.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well said, Wendy. Like you I now abandon books I'm not enjoying whereas I always felt I 'should' finish them years ago. But I'm not doing exams on them now! Give up the stuff you don't have to do to concentrate on that which is more productive. Well done on the novel. That was definitely worth not giving up!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post Wendy and you're so right why keep battling on with things that you are finding a struggle, unless as you say it's something you love. Well done on finishing your second novel. xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ploughing on seems to be something most of us do when we're young but at a certain age (unspecified!) the realisation comes that your time on this earth is finite, so it's better to ditch what doesn't make you happy and concentrate on the good stuff - like your second novel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's only in the last few years I've thought this way (should have tried it earlier!)

      Delete
  6. Well done on the novel, Wendy, and good luck. As for finishing books, I've finally stopped reading books I'm not enjoying (like you, I used to soldier on to the bitter end) and it's a lovely feeling of freedom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is - and then you can look forward to the next (and hopefully better) one.

      Delete
  7. Brilliant post! Good luck with both novels. x

    ReplyDelete
  8. A fabulous post, Wendy. I didn't use to give up on things either because of being brought up to feel it was somehow wrong or wasteful, but I'm much better at it now and prefer to see it as freeing up my time to do something which will generate greater happiness and satisfaction xxx

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a lovely and honest post, Wendy. I know how you feel about giving up on things, but you are absolutely right about putting time into things that make you happy. Maybe that is the true 'meaning of life' - you are so wise xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I rather like being called wise, Tracy.

      Delete
  10. Handel is wonderful, but... there are just so few breathing spaces, aren't there? Wiser instead to keep faith with the writing. Good luck with the novel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, Handel and I didn't gel, Penny. I will stick with the writing.

      Delete
  11. All the best with no 2, Wendy - fingers crossed!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congratulations on finishing the novel and also on giving up things that you weren't getting any joy from. I encourage my yoga students to 'let go of anything that is no longer serving you' and 'give yourself permission to lie still'. Works for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Permission to lie still' - that works for me.

      Delete
  13. What a shame you gave up the opportunity to sing the Hallelujah chorus at the Albert Hall. I'm not really a singer, although I'm a musician. Singing in the Messiah at the Albert Hall is one of my great memories, even though I had to practise like mad to be confident enough to do it.

    I'm not sure I've learned the lesson yet that life's too short to finish a bad book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was the 'practising like mad' but I couldn't do - and the fact I didn't enjoy the music.

      Delete
  14. If you are frustrated by a bad book then it won't make for a happy reader, so getting rid of it is best.

    Sad the singing had to go too, but it is something that you have to be enjoying or it will come over in the performance. And the time commitment is difficult to juggle.

    Well done on finishing novel 2. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Inspiring article Wendy. Thank you. I now feel ready to persevere with my writing after a little wobble earlier in the week (3 rejections in one day!).
    Love the link between the egg and spoon race and the 'yolk' in Messiah.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can guess who the three rejections were from.! Once, in the early days, I had five on the same day!

      Delete
  16. Ooo... I feel so much better now I know that!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well done for finishing the novel!

    I give up on reading books I don't enjoy. There are more stories which I'd get pleasure from than I'll ever have time to read, so why struggle through one I don't like?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Funnily enough, I've just started giving up on novels I don't like (at last)! Well done for getting that second novel finished - a major achievement!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I have to remember that ... whatever happens next.

      Delete
  19. I give up on books I don't like, not necessarily because it's badly written but because it simply isn't to my taste. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
    Good luck with your second novel, Wendy.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Love this Wendy. Very inspiring. Thank you x

    ReplyDelete
  21. Brilliant and inspiring blog post, Wendy, thank you! Good luck with Novel Number 2.

    ReplyDelete