Most days here, I try to share some inspiration or writerly snippets of wisdom I’ve gleaned along my way. I look to other blogs for insight and encouragement, so that’s what I hope to give back. But I want to meet people along the way, too. And I’m drawn to those who are open and honest. Transparency is a good thing. So I’ve decided to start a series of posts called Confessions of a Writer. You’ll see one of these show up at random whenever I’m prompted.
The Project Hopper
Confession: I think I have writing ADD.
I have a stash of first-draft manuscripts piled away that need to be edited and published. There are scribblebooks full of ideas for other novels and short stories hibernating in my dresser. I’ve got a video game in progress and notes for a children’s picture book. I won’t even mention all the unfinished artistic projects crammed into various storage areas in my house.
Needless to say, I have a lot of things I could work on. So why is it that when I sit down to write I end up starting a completely new project? Just what I need, one more project.
I want to finish the others; honestly I do. And I’m not one of those people who never finishes anything. I have published a couple of works. And I often complete art projects. But honestly, lately it’s been bad.
The Wandering Creative
When I have a chunk of time dedicated to work, I sit down ready, but then wrestle with the decision of what to work on. Why is that so difficult? I set goals, reworked them, and now keep doubting myself. I want to make sure I spend my energy on the most important or the most time-sensitive project. Ideally, both.
Since all my work is self-driven, the problem I keep running into the roadblock of indecision. Do I want to publish a novel next or a short story? And which one? Or do I want to switch my focus to getting the video game produced? Or maybe I should consider one of those collaborative projects I’ve been keeping in my back pocket. Sigh. You see my dilemma.
This indecision is crippling. When I do pick one project and start working, I deal with distraction from the nagging doubt that I’ve got my focus on the wrong one.
The Organization Junkie
I like organization.
I use outlines, character sheets, and other miscellaneous charts/calendars/etc. in planning my novels. A spreadsheet with over a dozen tabs keeps all of my social networking, marketing, sales, and the entire business side of my writing organized. I have all of my files ordered with multi-tiered folders on my laptop (and backed up elsewhere).
But my brain won’t adhere to these rules of organization.
Instead, it feels like a five year old’s bedroom. Intentions are strewn around like dirty laundry. Stacks of half-formed ideas await a manic little brother to barrel through and knock them all down like building blocks. Dust bunnies line the corners where no one’s cleaned in ages—in this metaphor they are all the ideas I’ve deserted but never bothered to purge from my mind.
This mess in my brain can have a serious effect on my productivity Sometimes it keeps me from working altogether. Which only leads to disappointment with myself. It’s a seemingly endless cycle that’s difficult to escape from.
But the good news is that for the past three days in a row it rained. Thunder crashed hard, the sky opened up, and it rained like crazy.
And I started writing again.
Did I mention that storms are good for writing?