Knowing When to Quit

Also:  Knowing Your Author Brand.

First, let me recommend The Dip by Seth Godin, recommended to be by May.  It’s basically a book about knowing which projects to keep working on, and when it will save you time to quit.  Yes, quit.  It’s an evil word to an overachiever, but sometimes quitting a project is the best thing you can do.

Spinning your wheels?  Stuck on a cul-de-sac going nowhere fast?  Sometimes extra effort will get you back on the freeway toward success.  However, sometimes you’ll never get that particular car out on the freeway–maybe it’s nowhere close to road-ready–and eventually it’ll run out of gas, break down, and you’ll have to abandon it.

Choose when to abandon the car.  Errr project.  Save your time and effort by knowing when that project just isn’t going to work and move on to the one that will.  It’s not quitting because a project is hard.  It’s quitting because the project is wrong for you.

What does this have to do with author branding? 

I’ve been thinking about my brand–or lack thereof–for a long time.  I’ve blogged for years about my horse totem, not liking boundaries, struggling to balance on the fence between genres, etc.  I’m never going to be able to say “I’m a [insert single genre] writer!”  I’m just not.  That’s not my personality.  I’m a Gemini.  I have many different faces.  I can’t take personality tests because I’m torn between the creative side and my rational analytical side.  Depending on which hat I’m wearing, I’ll answer different on every single question.

However, I’ve been trying to be more mindful about what common element ties all my work together. Not all of my work meets that personal brand, but going forward, I need to do a better job of staying true to who I am and what I want to write, whether it’s a smoldering hot fantasy based on Imperial China, an epic fantasy assassin, or a sexy English professor.  They’ll all have this common element.  I just need to emphasize it.

So what does this have to do with quitting?  I’ve decided to file the project formerly referred to as Faced.  As I’ve currently plotted and built, it does not fulfill my brand.  That’s why I’ve been struggling this month.  My mind kept worrying over the details, endlessly churning about what I should and shouldn’t be writing.  The gaping hole didn’t appear to me until today when I was writing my morning pages in my journal.

Faced doesn’t fit my brand.  So at this time, it’s off my list.  The premise is cool enough I will definitely work on it some more, but I need to add some details to make it work with my vision.

So, the rest of the month, I’ll be switching gears to writing Lady Wyre’s prequel and finalizing the plot of Phantom–which thankfully DOES fit inside my brand.  I just need to finish some more plotting and characterization first.

One thought on “Knowing When to Quit

  1. You found your niche. Good on you for recognizing what works and what doesn’t and moving forward. (It’s not self-serving that I’m excited about more in Lady Wyre’s universe, is it? :mrgreen: )

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