Jason Howell
Jason Howell asked Jeffrey Ricker:

People talk about "Aha!" moments. What about "I've stopped caring!" moments? Can you recall a particular instance, in writing or in life, where stopping caring was the cure? Where *letting go* jettisoned you forward, helped you get unstuck? If so, can you describe?

Jeffrey Ricker Oh, really good question, and I think I could answer it either "yes" or "no." I think that's because "letting go" doesn't necessarily mean you stop caring (or at least, it doesn't mean that I stop caring). It may just be that I'm not at the right point where I can finish a particular project, whether it's a story or a novel or an essay or, heck, a to-do list.

Case in point: I started writing a short story in the spring of 2014 that I was hoping to workshop in the Lambda Literary Foundation's emerging writers retreat, but it was just giving me fits. I couldn't figure out where it was going or how to get to the ending that I had in mind. The deadline for submitting my work was approaching and I knew I was going to blow it if I kept banging my head against that story, so I put it aside and finished something else that, it turned out, I had much more momentum on.

Later, when I went back to the original story, I realized my initial concept for it was kind of flawed, but that if I let go of that, I still had a story that interested me, so I've been working on it since then (when I haven't been working on other things, at least).

So yeah, I don't know if it's accurate to say that I stop caring—but I think if a story doesn't hold your interest as a writer, you can't expect it to hold a reader's interest, right? In the case of this story (the working title is "The Empty World"), I had to let go of where I thought the story was supposed to go and figure out where the thing that I had created actually did go.

Hopefully this makes sense; thanks for asking this! It really made me think.

More Answered Questions

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more