When to give up on your wip

So I’ve been working for months on a game and have made a ton of progress. I’m at 52,324 words at this time. The more I work on it, the more I’m finding that I’m not liking the story as much. I’m also just becoming tapped on ideas. My question is, at what point should you give up and scrap a WIP.


I would suggest putting a project aside for a while but not giving up on it. Sometimes, when we get too close to a project, we start seeing its warts and all its faults but lose sight of what we like about it.

It may be a fatefully flawed project but it might also have other qualities that would make it worthwhile if you come back to it later.

Sometimes, if we learn new things or we give ourselves a breather, new ideas and new approaches will come to us.

So, I would suggest putting the project on a backburner for a while but do not yet abandon it … if after a lengthy rest, you still feel it is time to abandon it, then you can go from there.


As @Eiwynn said put it aside. For instance i have a game technically finished with about 120,000 words and o course it needed close lose ends add new stuff. However I don’t feel prepared to finished it and polishing it yet with edition as my current level of English is not there. Even if i could notice is far better than when i started. Some musicians and film directors etc store songs and projects decades until they feel it is ready to being ended and published. There is no shame in doing so. And you should following your gut and let project sleep until you are ready


how about never ? I second @Eiwynn . If you are tired , out of inspiration …it just mean you need a break . You don’t like it ? the enthusiasm that was screaming inside your head ‘‘This story gonna be awesome’’ is going ‘‘it’s so muh now…’’ ?

Come back to it with fresh idea . Stories can be edited . And you can do that .

But if you delete it ? you gonna regret that . You did alot of work on it , that alone tell you it’s worth something…it’s worth keeping .

Also one thing I forgot to add , you can always use the stuff from your story in another story . A line of dialogue maybe , a scene of battle…a background scene . It can always be used for any other story you wanna make .


I’d add that if you do decide to stop working on something, it isn’t something to be ashamed of or beat yourself up over. Writing is a continuous learning experience and you can learn a lot even from unfinished projects.


Never give up. Never surrender.


It’s natural to want to quite a story for a myriad reasons. I wanted to quit after Trial of the Demon Hunter. Then, Captive of Fortune, then Foundation of Nightmares, then The Magician’s Burden, then Mass Mother Murderer. So literally like 5 years straight, lol. But I somehow pushed through.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is a part of everyone’s process. Putting a WIP on the backburner is a great way of giving yourself time to start missing it and getting passionate about it again and not getting too burnt out and resentful of it. I guess that’s why I have 5 WIPs. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Joke quotes aside, I really am in the minority that says just push through. First story, I really hated it by the end, thanks in part to the deadline. But when I came back to get it ready for publication, it took a long time because I had also lost momentum with it.

With my second story, it took longer but I am starting to get tired of it too. Not as much, because it’s much closer to what I had idealized in my head than the first was. But I want to go start something else. And if I did so, before the end I would want to start something else again. And then I would have a bunch of half-done stories that, in the unlikely event I went back to them, would feel so awkward that it would be less one story than two awkwardly stitched together mismatched halves from different times in my life. Better to slowly eke our one story at a time.


Oh I’d never delete it. At the worst I might cannibalize parts of it to be put in other stories.


Gosh, I’ve stopped working on so many different projects, for different reasons: just stuck on plot, didn’t like the corner I’d written myself into, not enough time IRL. But for all of those stopped projects there are a bunch where I wanted to stop but didn’t.

None of those were because I only pushed through - perhaps my stamina for grumpy writing is lower than most! - what I had to do instead was work out what was blocking me and remove it.

When in the story was the last time you felt good about it? Inspired? Can you go back to that point and go in a different direction? (I once stripped 20k from a 40k work this way but it was the right thing to do)
Which characters do you really love? Can you remove or reduce others to emphasise these guys? What about them is so cool - perhaps you can revamp your other characters to feel more interested in them again?
Which plot points, either written or planned, are you really psyched about?

Try to pin down what you like about the project. Can you refocus on that stuff?

If you don’t feel ready to chop at it like that, that’s okay! Maybe that means you just need time and space away from it. Good luck!


Another method that I tried before The Enchanter’s Misery (which seemed to be the point of no return for me writing an ungodly mass of WIPs) that actually worked pretty well, was moving away from whatever chapter was giving me writer’s block.

If Chapter 3 of your WIP is pissing you off and making you feel like you’re banging your head on the wall, move on to another chapter that’s more exciting or more gratifying in some way. By the time you finish that one, you’ll likely have been freed of your writer’s block with Chapter 3.


I have a non-interactive novel that I’ve been stating and stopping on for five years now. I agree with the others. Just put it aside for a bit and work on something else. When you come back to the project you’ll have fresh eyes and you’ll be able to be more objective. Right now you’re too deep into it to finish. Who knows how you’ll feel six months down the road?


I’m kind of a fitness geek, and one of the most important things you have to keep in mind, so you don’t hurt yourself, is that you have to let yourself fail.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you give up completely - it just means that you stop pushing yourself and beating yourself up over everything.

If you tell yourself you’re gonna do 500 lat pulldowns at 75 pounds, it is okay to stop when your body says you can’t do anymore. Stop for now and go work on your legs.

The same goes for writing. Don’t force yourself to shit out 500,000 words, if you’re just not feeling it. Set it aside and work on something else. :slight_smile: