I started a new piece of writing last week.
Right there, Chapter 1. Got a plot, got a character, got a hook. Got going.
There are several reasons I did this. Number 1 was the idea. The idea had been gnawing at me. There in the corner of my brain for well over six months. Probably since the summer. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of it. No matter how many times I tried to focus on my revisions, this idea would float there in front of me.
What is this story I see before me?
So, finally, after getting settled in the new house, I decided it was time to get back to writing. Time to sit down and start clacking away at the keys again. Time to start something new. So, I did. Started over. Started writing. Don’t know where the story’s going to take me, don’t know how it’s going to end. Just know it’s there, and is being backed by a flash of energy. A feeling I haven’t had in a while.
It feels good. Feels like I made the right choice.
But at the same time, I’m feeling really guilty. I abandoned a piece of writing I’ve been working on for a long time. It’s an idea I’ve had since… 2004, 2005? It’s a book I spent a year drafting, struggling through a draft just to get the ideas on paper. A book I’ve already worked through 3 and a half drafts of. If you’ve followed my ramblings though, you’ll know that in the past few months I hit the skids. The ideas stopped coming. The book is a mess, in the middle of a draft, without much direction. I’ve tried all the tricks—outlining, Scrivner, just flat out re-writing—and it wasn’t working.
So, I’m finally putting it down. Despite all the writing advice you see. All those writers telling prospective writers to finish something. You’re not a writer until you finish something.
Well, guess what? For right now, I’m not finishing this draft. I’m stuck and I can’t get unstuck. The book is such a mess right now; I can’t even show it to someone for ideas.
Which is the other reason I’m starting something new. I’m trying to get my brain away from the mess. Maybe while I’m focusing on this new book, something will be unlocked in my brain and the revision will come flowing out of me.Maybe it won’t.
But until then, at least I’m writing.
I feel like I can exhale.
No worries. I walked away from a book I'd spent several months working only a couple of weeks ago. It's on my hard drive. It will be there when I have an idea to move it forward, or need to cannibalize sections for another book.
In the meantime I drafted a short story and started plotting a novel, the germ of which has been in storage for several years. Maybe i can make something of it. maybe not. Nothing is ever wasted, if only because I learned what won't work.
And don't forget to inhale again!
You're going to make me take up that 105,000 word monster again, aren't you?
I agree with Dana. In writing nothing is ever wasted. You'll get back to it, you'll break it down for parts, or you'll just learn something from the experience.
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