by Kathleen Bradean
Many people start novels. Few finish.
It's a bit like love, or lust. As the story idea comes to you, your enthusiasm soars and your imagination frolics through scenes. It's infatuation. A rush.
Writing the story is a different task. You can't gloss over parts that aren't as fun, and the weaknesses become glaringly obvious. Each step is more of a buzzkill until you get mired down in the reality of producing a written work somewhere in the middle.
Relationships are work. This includes your relationship to your writing. When the excitement flames out and the going gets rough, it's easy to get distracted by thoughts of other stories. The initial thrill of creativity is addictive and fun. Maybe one story muscles in, or it could be several.
I can't tell you when it's time to throw in the towel on a story. Sometimes, no matter what you do, it's never going to work.
I can't tell you when it's time to walk away from a difficult story for "a while" to give yourself time to gather the grit to see it through.
What I can tell you is that slogging through the difficult work is the only thing that will ever get you to the end, and that developing a habit of dropping work to play with the newest, shiniest idea is going to leave you with a lot of failed novels and nothing else.
If that pesky, enthralling new idea will not leave you alone, write down the idea and firmly tell yourself that it has to wait its turn. The reason it looks so great is because you've reached a difficult part in your current work. It might be something too emotional for you to handle right now. So step away and process it until you can face it. Or maybe you don't know what to do next. This is writer's block and you can find lots of advice on how to get past it. But try not to let another story jump queue. There was a reason you got excited by this idea for this story. Remember what it was, and fall back in love with it. You've put this much time into this relationship. Don't throw it away.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
by Kathleen Bradean
Posted by Kathleen Bradean at 12:24 PM