Decisions


cluttereddeskcartoon I’m late with my post this morning because … well, frankly, I didn’t have anything to blog about until I realized I have a few ideas for books running around in my head.  And I’ve actually done something about it lately.

Time was, I’d get an idea and scribble down the thought on a notepad or some scrap of paper and then promptly lose it.  Or I’d have nothing around to write on and before I could get someplace where I could write it down, I’d forget the idea.  But lately, I’ve been getting ideas in a much stronger form – a lot more developed than they used to be – and I’m able to work them up a bit in my head before they come clamoring out onto something.  I’ve got a three-subject spiral-bound notebook I’m using for jotting the ideas and their development down in, and I’m finding the process of pushing the words past my hand manually, as opposed to on a keyboard, is gratifying in a tactile way.  The tooth of the paper, the drag of the lead, my hand against the page … all very intimate in a way which can’t be duplicated with computer input.  (But it comes at the cost of legibility.)

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of ideas over the last few weeks.  I’ve worked some of them up, others not quite as much, and I’ve been brewing another one for a total of three new book ideas.  I’ve also taken an old idea and started thinking about how I can salvage that one, which makes four.  Then I have the current WIP and the editing to address.  Six irons in the fire all told.  (The editing really should take priority I guess.)

I can’t decide what to do.  And so, from paralysis because I had no ideas into paralysis from having too many things to do I jauntily go.  And I get nothing done.  Nothing.

How ‘bout you guys?  Fellow writers, are you moving forward with something?  If you’ve got more than one idea which equally excite you, how do you choose what to work on?  How do you decide where to put the priorities on your work?

Readers – what plans you got for this weekend?  :)

-JDT-

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10 thoughts on “Decisions

  1. Well if it were me with this problem, I’d do it like this: It sounds like the editing is a “should” and not a “want to” so that’s immediately out. Then I’d spend a few minutes fleshing out each idea. Take the couple which interest me the most, which will probably also be the ones with the most fleshing. Spend a little more time on those, which may by that time be in another writing session. If I still can’t decide, I might just switch off, which seems to work for me anyway.

    That’s a terrible problem to have, don’t you think?

    It really is a terrible problem. Yes, the editing is a “should” but it’s also necessary. It’s a “should” for a reason. If I want to be published — and my supporters and I still think it’s publishable — I have to get that done. Period. But it’s not a “want to” for reasons I can’t yet identify. And, I have fleshed some of the ideas out. I really like this new way of working up my ideas, where I start with the necessary story structure milestones and then go to the synopsis-type “outline”. I figure if I do it right (which I haven’t), I should end up with both a short and long synopsis before I begin writing. Filling in the milestone scenes and then the connecting scenes might be too nonlinear for me, but I figure it’s worth a try. And as for switching off — well, I’ve been off for more than 18 months. Time to get back ON again. :)

    • I meant switch between the two. And of course you have to edit eventually, but if you don’t want to yet, then wait a while longer. What I mean is, don’t let that be a dam in your creative river, like, you must edit before you do anything else. You’ve tried pushing through and it didn’t work, right?

      We-ell, yes and no. It worked in that I got something like 28 of the 47 chapters done. Then I lost the memory stick they were on, and I haven’t recovered. I could probably make another push like that and get it done, but I just … don’t.

      And LOLOLOLOL on the “switch off” thing I screwed up!

  2. I have actually scaled down to some degree. There were some anthologies I was interested in but finishing this novel is very important to me even though there is other stuff I’d rather work on. Completing this work will mean more to me than finishing a few shorts so I choose to work on it. Plus the novel is part of what caused my writing problem so continuing with it makes sense to help break through the issue I’m having.

    Your approach is interesting. If it were me, I’d swear identifying what was giving me fits would be more important than finishing it just because if I don’t know what to fix the completion will be flawed, but that’s me. And I haven’t done jack for 18 months. Shorts and vignettes only, just to keep the fingers crawling, but nothing substantive. So let me know how your plan works out.

  3. Well…I do happen to have a lot of things brewing right now. I am actually submitting a couple things as we speak, so keep your fingers and toes crossed. But I am never far from my laptop or my notebook in case my muse decides it’s time to write.

    Really! Wow, that’s exciting. Good luck!

    Sadly my best friends have moved over the past two weeks, so I haven’t had much time to read other’s blogs, let alone write in mine, or frankly do anything else.

    Well, the Internet’s not going anywhere. :)

    This weekend (ahhhhh just a couple more hours to go) I am getting to go over to hang out with Ben and Kristy tomorrow, and get to meet Squish. Very excited about that. Beyond that…I plan on catching up on some much needed rest!

    Sounds like fun. Have a great time. :)

  4. I let the ideas take the lead. When one has been bobbing around on the surface of my consciousness, getting in the way of other things, it’s ripe for the writing. Sometimes I have to search a little to remember what’s been on top of my mind, but usually there’s something fairly immediate. Then again, sometimes I only post once per week.

    Problem is, I have a LOT of ideas bobbing at the surface. They’re sort of crowding in and pushing their way through my consciousness with equal vehemency, so I have to decide myself. Unfortunately. :(

  5. Weekend plans, well, tonight, being Friday night, the official start of the usual weekend, I’ve got plans to see Bill Cosby perform. The plans are a bit weird. It seems that the tickets are not actually purchased yet or something. My friend has told me there is a slim chance the tickets will not be available for us but we won’t know until we get there. The getting there could be a big pain in the butt if the tickets aren’t available. The show is at an indian casino (or whatever the PC term is) up in the boonies somewhere. It would really suck to go all the way up there and then not be able to see the show. I’m not much of a gambler, but if I was going to play the slots, I’d drive equal distance in the opposite direction and goto the casinos in Niagara Falls. At least over there, the casino isn’t in the middle of nowhere. Once the gambling loses its fun (20 minutes) there are other things to do. The reserve doesn’t offer much other entertainment than the casino.

    Bummer. Nothing like being in the middle of nowhere with no money ’cause you lost it gambling and not being able to do anything. Maybe you can play MY favorite broke-in-the-middle-of-nowhere game, “Serial Killer”.

    But seeing as how I’m driving and it’s gonna be dark and possibly rainy, I’ve planned some spooky music for the trip. Not the lame Monster Mash hallowe’en music, but music that will make you think the world is coming to an end. I wonder how my friends will react. Mwa ha ha…

    But it’s also good driving music.

    Creepy music good for driving? I’d SO be in on that. Have a great time!

  6. This week was pretty rough, I didn’t get much done on Chapter 48 of the serial novel, I hope I might polish it off tomorrow/today.

    Which one, Al? Aren’t you running two or three of ‘em?

    I have several ideas that excite me, my current serial novel will probably run till next year but I already am bubbling with ideas for the next one God help me.

    Always fun to have another idea brewin’. :)

  7. I know you asked completely different questions but the physical act of writing is what I’ve been interested in lately. I love trying different pens and pencils…different paper. There is something intimate about the tactile sensation of writing. I still use the keyboard when I feel like I want to get down to business and check things off my list…but paper and pen….it’s like going to the library and wandering amongst the books.

    Yes, exactly right, Jaymie. There’s a physicality to creating the words with your own hands on paper with pen or pencil which is just missing with typing. Like you, when I want to get it done quickly I use the computer because my typing speed far exceeds my handwriting speed, but nothing matches the contact, the connection between writer and medium like paper and pen/pencil, just as reading onscreen will never replace reading with paper and ink to me. :)

  8. Let’s see… I’ve got a ton of ideas. And plenty of projects. I’ve learned to accept that I won’t be able to go with every idea in my head. Or at least I just know that they are far down the list and maybe one day… but not today. I’ve got art to make for the store and for a show. I make myself work on that while the family is up and around because I can work on art even if there distractions.

    I find drawing isn’t as hard to focus on during distracting times. If that were an integral part of what I’m doing it probably wouldn’t be an issue.

    I don’t watch TV. which gives me more time to get things done. I do watch DVDs, but only while working on art because I can make art and watch at the same time.

    I think dropping TV is probably a good idea. But … you don’t need to watch what you’re doing when you’re making art, whatever that may be? Hm.

    When the family is asleep I try and write. I like to promise things to certain people because if I’ve made a promise, then that’s the thing I’ve got to work on. I don’t really wait for any muse. I just work. I might edit for 30 minutes and then write for 30. Or something like that. Always factor in how much time I have before I must sleep and what has priority.

    Interesting plan. Sounds like a good strategy.

    And I just read this article on procrastination; http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200908/escape-artists
    Maybe you should take a look at it.

    I will, thanks.

    Good luck.

  9. It’s better to have too many ideas than not enough. Good for you. Keep at it. I have one friend who can work on several books at once. I’m not that skilled.

    Thanks, Courtney. I’m not that skilled either. At least, I don’t think so. Ray Bradbury I’m not. :)

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