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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Insecurity check-in

Yep, mine's still there. As most of you know, today is the day for letting all those fears hang out. Brought to you courtesy of Alex Cavenaugh's
                                      First Wed of Every Month
I wrote myself a note, this morning, that I needed to do this blog. So now, this evening, I am finally writing it. Now, don't think I don't know that you can write blogs ahead of time and then post them. But I always feel like I'm cheating if I do that. Please know for any of you that plan out your blogs, I don't think YOU are cheating, the rule only applies to me. Because it might make my life easier, it must be wrong on some level. Which leads me to my trembling knees vent for this month.

I am too disorganized to ever be able to make a go of a writing career. One of my friends came over recently and looked around my house at the bins, shelving, and hooks on the wall and said,"Don't buy any more things to organize with because you don't use them." She is correct and not mean like the comment makes her sound.

I have, in my life, attempted multiple systems that I was certain would lead me to a life of tranquility, the type of peace that can only occur when your setting is not the- move some stuff around so I can get to the keyboard- chaotic one. I have attempted to fly with Flylady and bought agendas, and calenders, and all sorts of electronic devices.

Each of these things work for a little while but then, once the newness wears off, I revert. Writing doesn't take tons of effort after I get started but finishing and editing do. I could produce multiple rough drafts every week if I never had to fix them. Which is the place I find myself now. I have probably 15-20 short stories, a few novelettes, and at least two novels that just aren't publish ready. (Publish ready HA!, one of the novels is split into two parts that need to be somehow combined). Then, there are the new story ideas weaving down the boulevard. I think somewhere deep down I believe the next story I truly love will inspire me to do the work necessary to make it a sale. That being said, I have truly loved almost all of these stories when I wrote them with the exception of one horror one that disturbed even me so I was happy to leave that behind.

So, do I go back and edit? Or do I move forward with new stories? At what point do I stop and say enough to the dancing muse and focus on fixing the ones already on the hard drive?


  1. Oh man, that's a hard one, and it's different for everyone. For me, I don't start those Shiny New Ideas until they've built up too much mass, and like a black hole, they suck me and my life in with them. So if I can resist, I edit other work, but once I hit critical, I drop everything for my new WIP love.

    Good luck one way or another (and I totally loved your "if it would make my life any easier" bit; that is so me).


  2. You focus when you feel ready to focus. You sound like you are writing out of joy, and continuing to move forward is joyful, do that. At some point you will have to stop and organize and finish, but do it in your own time. Your path is your own.

  3. After the first draft I usually put it away for two weeks and focus on another project. Only then do I go back to it with a fresh mind. This allows me to take a break and clears my mind. It usually works. As far as organizing, I keep one agenda (labeled with tabs), one calendar and one whiteboard. It works for me, but I do have to be consistent.

  4. I think when you have the right story, it finishes itself--you can't put it away until it's done. All the rest are just the warm ups. However, if you haven't read them for a while, do. You may fall in love again.

  5. Enjoy writing as the stories come to you. Eventually you'll revise and edit. It definitely isn't my favorite thing to do. I have to force myself some days, but the reward is more than worth it. Good luck!

  6. I say spend the time to figure out what works for you (if you are like me, you have the tendency to try to make organization systems work like those in magazines - um #fail!) and then stick with it. Good luck!

  7. I think you should get a pass for the last year or so. Start fresh now and have at it. You can check in a month and see how this year is starting off. If nothing else, maybe all these unfinished items are part of your million words.

  8. I love the idea that we will eventually complete something once the mood strikes, but really, I'm lazy.

    I can find a gazillion things to do other than work. And writing IS work.

    Once I realized that truth, the mystic of being a writer dwindles, but I realized there's nothing else I'd rather do.

    Writing is work. MY WORK. It sounds like it's yours, too.

    Happy writing!

  9. I think it's important to pick a project and say "this is the one I'm going to finish" and figure out what you need from yourself to enable that to happen. Like Alex said though, each path is different, so you just get to that spot when you get to that spot. Okay, so he didn't say it exactly like that, but, still...

  10. Thank you all for the commiserations and suggestions.

    Rena-Welcome, I think that may be something many women share.

    Alex-the permission is nice and I do find some joy. I wonder what that point is?

    Marta-Welcome, I think it is a great idea to take a couple of weeks. I always intend to do that and then let myself be distracted.Perhaps the whiteboard hmmm

    Julie-you may be right although I do love some of those warm ups.

    Christine-I am glad the stories keep coming. There was a brief time when I was going through a lot and they stopped for awhile but I would like to feel like something was finished.

    Tasha-Welcome. I know that perfect system must be in the next magazine :).

    Rusty-thanks, ah the grief card, I am glad to have the use of it and hope to not have any more holes punched any time soon.

    Anne with an e, (if you know why I say that then we may be kindred spirits)welcome and I often fear that lazy is the culprit when my writing things do not get done.

    Andrew, I do need to pick one but I keep getting pulled (by myself only) in different directions on which one to go with.

  11. This is me. I've written four novels this year, all of them are a mess. I worry that I'm sabotaging myself because secretly they're not worth fixing.

  12. I, like you, am loathe to go back and edit after I have already finished a draft I feel is good enough. I plan to eventually go back, but right now I have a second novel I'm working on myself. I have momentum for that, and I'm worried if I slow down, I will get bogged down.

    I'd say go with your gut. Whichever you are in the mood for at the time, do it. A little editing here, some writing on the new MS there. I agree with Alex.

  13. I think it's safe to say, we're all with you on this one or we've been there before.