July 03, 2023

Dear Writer with a Problematic Story


Dear Writer with a Problematic Story,

If something isn’t working, let it be.

Sometimes, no matter what we do, a story isn’t working out the way we want it to. Despite trying. Despite determination. Despite the best of intentions.

When this happens, the best thing we can do is to let it be.

Not to forget it.

Not to give up on it.

Definitely not to trash it.

But to set it aside. Put it on the backburner. Let it breathe without you hoovering over it, picking at its bones and tearing it apart again and again. Give it some space from YOU. Give it a break and time to rest from your relentless hammering.

When you do this, you’re giving yourself a break and space from it, too. That time away will give you the rest you need, so that when you do come back to your story you will have a clear mind and fresh eyes to better solve the problem standing in your way. 

For now, though, you have to let it be. It’s okay to do that. It’s acceptable. It’s fine. 




QUESTION: Is your story giving your problems? I'm here to listen.


  1. That's why it's a good idea to have a couple projects going at the same time. When one is being difficult, you can go to the other and spend your energy there. Sometimes the story needs rest before you can deal with it again.

  2. Hi Chrys ... we always need to take breaks and sometimes our stories just don't easily roll along. With thoughts and happy Fourth and to the year ahead - cheers Hilary

  3. That approach has certainly worked for me from time to time!

  4. I agree. Sometimes the answer eventually comes to you.

    July 4 is Alice in Wonderland Day, a commemoration of when the story was first told to the Liddell sisters by Lewis Carroll in 1862.

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Speculative Fiction &Reference Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge

  5. Thankfully, my book is so huge, I can just switch to a different section when it gives me problems. >_<

  6. Excellent advice for every writer out there.

    Not that I've ever had a problematic story. Because I...haven't. :)

  7. A lot of people don't realize that your brain will keep working on something in the background. There have been numerous times I've been stumped so I walked away and did something else only to have the solution come to me when I wasn't thinking about what stumped me.