creative process · my life

Thinking Too Much and Not Writing Enough

Remember when I made it my New Years Resolution to write a novel? Well, you’ll be happy to know that I’m making progress.

Sort of.

You’ll be happy to hear that I am currently on the second chapter of novel, and in the opening pages / planning stage of another one that runs alongside it, focusing instead on two sub-characters who haven’t even appeared or been mentioned in the first one.

Confused yet?

I know my problem. As I lose enthusiasm for plunging into a 50,000 word project with no foreseeable outcome, I yearn for a project that will give me a quick outcome. I’m the same with everything I do– if I can’t make something quickly, then I’ll give up and move on. For examples of this, you can look to the Game of Thrones purple wedding cosplay that I swear I will finish. Eventually.

But I can’t be the only one who’s like this. There’s got to be others, like me, who enjoy the rush of completing a project. That’s why I like poetry, and short stories. Except this is where the practical me and the ideas in my head don’t quite connect. I don’t have ideas that would fit in just one short story.

And oh God, my ideas. 

I’m very fond of lists. Of writing things down and organizing my information. I’m also quite fond of mood boards, so I can get a visual representation of my main characters so that I can get more of a feel for them. But all this planning and research and figuring out takes so long, that I rush through it, and then go back to it, and then leave it again and then go back to it when I want to pretend that I’m working. If anyone wants to see what my creative process looks like, here it is:

If you look closely enough, you’ll see that it’s moderately colour-coded to which novel I was writing it for– since the two are entertwined and I’m trying to juggle them both, I though it was wise to have everything put up on the same strip of wall. Pink is the original novel idea, purple is the second and blue…. Blue is just interesting ideas that got out of my book and into development.

But planning a novel is just as important as writing, right? So I can warrant having this many scraps of paper next to my head for every second that I’m sitting at my desk. I need to work out every little plot-hole otherwise it won’t be a good story. Even if the reader doesn’t know what’s going on, or the character, the author has to, right?

Right?

This is why I’m so envious of my friends who have the ability to stay on track and see novels through to completion of at least the first draft. Like my friend Laura who’s finished the first draft of her novel (and I’m equal parts jealous, impressed and proud) or my friend Jess who’s sticking with a novel idea she started two whole years ago and has been working on in-between writing for money (!!!) and for fun and for living in a whole new country  (her blog may be scarce, but I’m pretty certain that that single post is better than anything I have written, ever).

I want to say I can do this, and I do sort of know that I can. You’d think now that I’ve blogged about my struggles it would make juggling research and writing a whole lot easier, but maybe that might just be wishful thinking.

Look, there I go again.

Thinking.

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