I refuse to give up on my writing because I haven’t explored every possible way to revise it.

Since writers are close to their work – the universe for the story that is in a writer’s head always is larger than the universe for the story that is on paper – they often may not recognize that a passage needs to be revised. Because of this, a troubled paragraph or chapter may go unrecognized by the writer…and if it is recognized, the writer may have no idea how to revise it.

Don’t give up on a passage and decide to let it stand simply because you’re unclear how to help it work better, though. That simply cheats your reader and your story. You wouldn’t give up on your child simply because you’re uncertain how to help her, after all, so why treat your story with any less dignity?

If you’re thinking of quitting on a passage – or even giving up on the entire writing project – you’re simply responding with emotion, specifically frustration and maybe even a little fear or anger. Such an intense reaction arises from self-doubt about your ability to get the story right.

Indeed, a lot of writing is trial and error. Sometimes what at the outset seems like a middling idea actually turns out to be the best cure. Sometimes what initially appears to be a fantastic idea turns out to be the entirely wrong prescription.

The beauty of writing is that there always are a number of ways to solve any given problem. Suppose the result of your main character’s effort to resolve a problem doesn’t deliver the necessary gravitas to help your protagonist grow. Simply have your character take an entirely tact toward resolving the issue, specifically one that leads to the result you desire. There are thousands of different approaches your main character might take. Or you might instead tweak the result. Or you might modify how the character grows through the story.

You may need to outline or pen several drafts of a scene to make it work. Whatever you do, keep at it. The satisfaction you feel upon succeeding will be the worth the effort.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.