Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Indie Life: Knowing When To Stop Writing

It's time for this month's Indie Life post, a monthly feature run by the awesome writers over at the Indelibles blog. Every second Wednesday of the month those taking part will post something related to indie life, such the highs, lows, triumphs, struggles, and milestones of going it alone in the publishing world.

Today I'm talking about knowing when to stop writing.

I don't mean stopping forever. I mean when you're too tired, too emotional, or there are events in your life that mean you've lost focus or concentration. When you can't give your writing your all.

I have personal experience of this. I pushed ahead with the publication of Taking Time and Other Science Fiction Stories despite major issues in my non-writing life. I insisted on squeezing it in during the odd hour or so I found each day. Now that would have been okay if I'd been writing the first or second draft, but I was working on the final draft with my editor. And I was exhausted. The result? I published a book with errors. Not tonnes, but enough to make me wonder how I'd missed them. I also didn't do a blog tour or anywhere near enough promotion. My sales suffered.

When my first book was published, it only contained one error. I was damn pleased with that figure. I can't say the same thing with Taking Time. In fact, due to ongoing technical issue with Amazon KDP, my book still has them. But that's a long story, and for another post.

"But what about deadlines?" I hear you say.

True. If you're a well-known writer or don't want to disappoint your loyal readers, sometimes you have no choice. In the past I've tutted when I've read a few errors in a book by a well-known author. Now I wonder what was going on in their life at that time? In hindsight, I should have delayed Taking Time's publication. As a little-known author, without a publishing deal, I could have done that. Should have done that.

What about you? Have you been faced with a similar scenario? Did you delay or carry on? Did you make the right decision?


  1. I have not been faced with that situation thankfully and I sincerely hope I never do. And I'm so sorry about your trouble with amazon kdp :(

  2. Sorry to hear that. I struggle with taking time off. I feel as if I have to hurry or else...but I don't know what would really happen if I did take some time off. Guess I'll have to find out.

  3. Yeah, last year I wrote and published one of my short novelettes at a time when I was going through something really difficult. Looking back, the thing I was going through actually HELPED some of the writing I was doing (!), but it was still quite stressful at the time. I didn't want readers to have to wait, so that's why I kept writing...

  4. *sighs* I do know what you mean. To continue on and publish or to take more time. This summer hasn't been the easiest, so I recently changed my production schedule, which will give me more time but make readers wait longer. But I think it'll be worth it in the end.

  5. Almost everything is on hold at the moment due to two crises and other unavoidable commitments all appearing at once and no writing is happening, other than the odd blog comment. Fortunately I no longer am tied to deadlines.
    So you have managed to produce a rare first edition. That is the one with the mistakes in it, like JKRowlings’s Hogwarts girl's toilets appearing on the wrong floor, now removed from the later editions. Problem is how does one get the author to sign a first edition e-book?

  6. It's a hard decision to make, but I agree it's worth waiting in the end. I've had to change a few release dates this year. I hated doing it, I felt I was letting readers down, but I'd do worse giving them a product that isn't quite ready.

  7. If I can't focus on writing, then I give myself a break and say I'll come back tomorrow, or even next week. It isn't the end of the world. I have to take breaks or I get burned out.

  8. Fair point on the deadlines - sure, try your damndest to meet them, but if it becomes impossible then I think sometimes we just have to accept that.


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