So I’m in a bit of a quandary. I just finished a fairly massive writing project and waiting on notes but while working on it, I was hitting my goal of writing every day (one of my personal, accountability goals). Once it finished, though, I’ve skipped a day here and there, but I want to get back to it, and I want to write something for me, not something I have to write to fulfill someone else’s deadlines and content pools (Yes, I’ll still do that, but I like writing fiction).
So the question now is…what to write. The problem I’m having isn’t writer’s block, not exactly. Instead, I’ve got tons of ideas, I just don’t know which one to work on. Rasa has made several suggestions, all of which are good (some of which I’ve stolen – to the betterment of those particular stories). But I’m still in that same position of having to decide on something I not only want to start, which is important, but also what I want to finish, which is importanter.
So while hanging out at the coffee shop today with my friend Monika, I was preparing for writing. I had figured on continuing the adventures of a certain ex-motorcycle gang member turned journalist, something I had already started. I was just taking a look over what was already there, basically doing busy work while I pumped myself up to get to outlining and writing a novel, when I asked Monika what I should write. She pointed out that she hasn’t been reading my blog because all I’ve been doing lately is reposting other people’s writing. So when I said “what should I write?” her response was “a blog post.”
Okay. So here’s a blog post.
So this blog post is about what to write next. In the midst of work and magazine writing duties, what is the next creative project which excites me? Is it to return to the murder mystery, a sequel to a past endeavor? Is it to pull something out of the old files, something which has been teased, or even nominally started, and continue? Or is it to start something totally brand spanking new. In one respect, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something. In another, it matters immensely because, since it’s not a paycheck job, the impetus to finish it and see it to completion is entirely of my own volition so it better be something I’m excited about doing.
Practice, as they say, makes perfect. I don’t need it to be perfect, I just need it to be done. Every day, even if it’s just a simple blog post, I need to add words to the count, for my own edification and peace of mind.
Now…onto the writing.
2 thoughts on “On Writing Preparation”
I’d say, perhaps with more whimsy than conviction, you should write something new. The fact you are asking suggests that nothing you’ve got on the table (or in the trunk) is something you are in love with. Start something new; you might fall in love, you might not.
I confess I’m scarred by Piers Anthony here. I liked On a Pale Horse. I liked less Bearing an Hourglass. It felt hacky, repeating all the beats of the previous novel. And in the afterword, he described how he writes every day, mocking those writers who suffer from writer’s block. (I took extra offense at this as Sturgeon often suffered from writer’s block.) Now I appreciate his industriousness (as compared to my laziness) but industry can lead to hackery really easily. I’m not suggesting you are becoming a hack; I am suggesting that on the path to something new, you may be more likely to find that good idea. And no matter what, as you say, it’ll be writing.
Piers Anthony would also be working on three different books at the same time. And I tried recently to reread books of his that I liked back in high school and just couldn’t get through them.
But you may be right and it may be time to just chuck everything and start something new – regardless of how scary that might be.