The Squirrel Saga Continues (aka Knowing when to quit)

There are times in this life as a writer when I want to toss the manuscript into the trash and stomp away. But I don’t. Not literally, anyway. I’ve been well warned about those moments, so I dutifully ‘save’, ‘close’, ‘quit’, and then stomp away. You know those times, don’t you? Please tell me you do — those write-for-an-hour-and-delete, write-for-another-hour-and-delete-again days when you’ve tried every approach you can think of and nothing works.

Our squirrel was back this morning… the one I mentioned last Friday. My hubby had put up another bird feeder so the bigger birds could more easily access the seed. We figured it would satisfy the squirrel, too. Not so.

Hey, this is new… but the other feeder still looks more intriguing.
If it’s that hard to get at, it must be really good.


There has to be a way to reach it!


Whoops!!! I just about hit the ground again!


Hang on a minute. I’m getting an idea.


I’ll call in a favour and get her to try. Surely she won’t slide off it like I always do… oops!


Well, that’s it then. I know when it’s time to call it quits.
Maybe I’ll go look for a pine cone peace offering instead.


Sheesh! What knuckleheads! All that work and then they discarded this good stuff.


So no, I’m not going to toss out those hard-won words. But I might need to think them over for a bit… maybe ask a critique partner for advice. Or just give it some time and work on something else. What do you think?

What do you do when nothing seems to be working… when the right words won’t come and the wrong words drive you to exasperation?

~  ~  ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

9 thoughts on “The Squirrel Saga Continues (aka Knowing when to quit)

  1. I loved these photos and this commentary, Carol! When words won’t come for me, I write anyway. Then on a better day I patch up what I wrote! If it’s unpatchable, some day when I’m in a bad mood, I cut it out and put it in my Cut File. It works for me!

  2. Great captions and photos, Carol! Squirrels are quite ingenious when it comes to robbing bird feeders.

    I’ve had many of those moments where I wanted to toss my WIP into a drawer. I’m glad I didn’t. I just got a contract and an agent for my book.

    Don’t give up. 🙂

  3. Wow, I love your pictures. And this post made me laugh. We have the same problem with squirrels. My husband finally figured it out too, but the process made me laugh almost everyday. Man vs squirrel….there were times I was rooting for the squirrel! ha ha

  4. 😉 Observed a squirrel wrapping himself around my nut feeder not so long ago. To answer your question, I give it a rest when nothing works and read or do something else. Walking the dog helps at times.

  5. LOL, very cute photos and captions!

    When the right words just will NOT come, I put it away–maybe for a long time. Read some good books. Maybe pull out another project for a while and see if things click with that one. (I’ve come to believe that even if a story is worth telling, and even if I’m meant to tell it, it’s not necessarily the right time for me to tell that story. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, though, whether I need to push through a rough patch with sheer determination or whether I need to take a break. But if I’m making myself crazy and there’s no joy in the work at all, it’s definitely break time!)

  6. Carol, I have the answer, something that works well for me every single time. I read. And not just anything. I choose my favourite writers and find a cozy spot. Works every time.

  7. I love hearing what all of you do when you hit a bad patch. Thanks for all the good ideas! I was feeling guilty about getting little done on my current w.i.p. recently, but I’ve given myself permission to do something else. I’m researching the history of my church in preparation for creating an album.

    As for the squirrels… um, should I admit that today we began a ‘catch and release’ relocation project? While I don’t mind feeding them (they ARE cute, after all), these two squirrels became much too cheeky around here and had found their way into our soffits. One has been captured and released on the other side of the lake and hopefully the other will join him tomorrow.

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