What writing project have you been struggling with longer than you'd care to remember? You know the one. You could recite chapter and verse about how it's resisted your every effort at completing it. You've pushed. You've pulled. You've cajoled, coaxed, bargained - you name it, you've tried it. And still the plot, or characterization, or the right way to begin (or end), or vivid descriptions, or smooth syntax, or figurative language, or structure have eluded you. It it were a person you'd smack the piece upside the head and say, "Snap out of it!"
What should you do when you and the story or poem don't see eye to eye? Let it go.
I know this is hard. You think that, if you do, you will let go just before you figure it out. This kind of mentality is what makes Vegas so successful. People who are losing, or who are winning just enough to keep them hooked, keep pulling the lever on those slot machines because they're certain they're close to winning. That if they walk away now, the next person to use the machine will win the jackpot that should have been theirs.
That might be true (sometimes) in Vegas, but it's not true here. The more you try to force your writing to work, the less it's going to work--the further away that 'jackpot' is going to be. You have to let it go and trust that the answer or solution to making the writing sing will come to you on its own. Your pushing means that you are trying to make something specific happen, something that you think is right for the piece, something which isn't right, in reality, because if it were, it would work and you wouldn't be close to burning the manuscript and going to law school instead. Get it?
If it isn't working that means your approach is not the right one and you should get off the ride for a while and let your internal Writing God--we'll call it--figure it out for you. It may take a while (it could take years, that's been the case for me on occasion), and information could arrive in bits and pieces, but If You Trust It, It Will Come. And--dare I say it--it's exciting when the information comes in. You never know the where and when of the answer: a Muzak song in the elevator, a street sign, a T-shirt someone is wearing, a visual image you see out a window that triggers another one relating to your story, coming upon the same object over and over until you get the hint - however it arrives, it can be like a treasure hunt. It can be fun if you let it. Let's dispel the myth right now that writers/poets have to suffer!
Writing is a mix of control and letting go. You try an approach and it either works or it doesn't. If it doesn't, you let go and wait for the right way to come to you. This takes practice, and is sometimes very difficult. But writing is a partnership between your mind and the Collective Writing Mind (I'm sure Carl Jung would agree). The more you force what you want, the more you're closing the door to all the wonderful ideas in the Collective Mind, to which your own Writing God (or we could say Higher Writing Self to keep up with the times!) is connected. You two have to work together.
Don't push so hard. Here's one of my mantras again: enjoy the process. Let go and see what happens.