Advice Wanted: Should I Finish this Story?

Sometimes it’s really hard to tell if I should finish a story. I have several writing projects happening all at once. Some are non-fiction articles I’m researching, some are fiction stories I’m writing. Since most of the stories aren’t on assignment but are things I’ve decided to work on during my own time.

I jump around from project to project. If my energy starts to ebb on a certain story I usually don’t feel bad switching to another story. But if it sits neglected too long I start to feel a little guilty. I’m not saying that every project is worth something. For instance, I don’t think “Santa’s Best Friend” is going anywhere. That’s just a feeling, though, not an objective assessment.

I confess to having a little bit of worry about this. What if I keep starting stories but don’t finish any? Does that make me seem less productive? Or like I have no follow-through? I often feel really compelled to finish things that I start, just to prove I can.

But maybe that’s not the best use of my time. Maybe it’s better to stop working on stories that aren’t working.

I don’t really have a rubric for deciding if a story is worth finishing or not. It’s often just a vibe or a guess. So how do other writers know they should finish the story?

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I know just how Melissa feels.

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There’s quite a few different approaches there. It seems like not a lot of writers don’t mind giving up on certain projects when they aren’t feeling it.

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I certainly don’t want to work on something that makes me nauseous.

Fellow writer Denise offers four times for writers to know when it’s time to give up on a story. 

So when do you know it’s time to stop working on one story and start on another?