I don’t always enjoy the story I’m writing. There, I said it. Sometimes, the story doesn’t feel right, or it doesn’t excite me, and it’s just not working the way I had intended it to. And I start to dislike it… maybe even resent it a little for taking up so much of my head space and typing capacity.
However, there is one simple reason that I think lies at the heart of not enjoying the story you’re writing: you haven’t figured out what to like about your story yet.
And I think that’s okay, especially early on in the writing process.
Not Enjoying Your Story
Let me explain a bit what I mean. Imagine you’re writing the first of what you intend to be a series of short stories. You have a basic idea of what the stories are about: a family just trying to survive after losing their home.
Interesting premise? Check. So you start writing. You create characters, build a plot, and try to add some intriguing details to the world they inhabit (because, obviously you’re world-building, right???).
But halfway through the first draft, you start to lose interest. Every plotline feels like a dead end, and even the characters start to sound dull in your head. You don’t like where your story is headed. Maybe you even consider giving up altogether.
How do you continue?
What Do You Like about Your Story?
This is exactly what happened to me with part one of “The Herb Witch” (still a working title). I just wasn’t enjoying the writing process during my first draft.
I ended up starting the second draft after rethinking my original ending. Now that I’m in the rewrite phase, I’m finding ways to enjoy a story that I doubted the strength of.
- I like the use of herbal tonics and ritualistic charms my MC uses to help her ailing mother-in-law. I’ve leaned into that with my second draft.
- I like the interpersonal relationships between my characters, not just my MC and her family, but her friends and neighbors who are all trying to survive together. I think the dialogue is a real strength of this draft.
- And I like that I have a meaningful ending in mind now.
Basically, it’s taken me until the second draft to find the meaning in my story. Now that I’m driving towards that in my writing, I feel like the story has more purpose. I’ve also taken narrative elements that were underdeveloped in my first draft — use of herbal medicine and dialogue — and built upon them as ways to make the story more interesting as I write it.
That’s the key. When you’re stuck in a writing rut, find the things you really like about your story, and focus on those. That will help you add flavor to your writing and figure out what is unique about your story, why you like it, and why you wanted to write it in the first place.