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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A is for Avoiding New Projects


New ideas should be like new pennies...or like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Writers like to write, and they love to jump head first, nose-diving right into that shiny New Project. Right? Why do we sometimes lag into something new? Why is motivation sometimes hard to find? Why is new suddenly scary? What sort of weird disease do we get all of a sudden that makes us run for the hills, and away from writing?

1.     You've been burned out on a previous project: Burn out. It's not just for aging rock stars and Tommy Chong anymore. Maybe that last project ate at parts of your brain like the ever-lovin' zombie of Projects. It's hard to put your all into a long novel, only to jump into the next one. Some writers are really good at cranking out multiple drafts at one time, but unfortunately I struggle with see-sawing back and forth between novels. I can't do it. I'm a serial monogamist type of novel writer. So the one Project becomes everything. It's a little hard to move on after the relationship is over (or mostly over).

2.     The new is too new: I've been afraid to jump into stories outside my usual genre. It's very daunting to try something you've never attempted before. The first time I ever wrote a serial killer short story, I was a bit terrified by the idea of stepping away from Swords & Sorcery type stuff. I even did a week's worth of reading up on serial killers. I even freaked out a librarian as the library closed with me in it (she didn't know I was hiding in one of the upstairs back corners), and I checked out a huge stack of "Women Who Kill" type books. Stepping out of your comfort zone is necessary for growth, but it sure is hard sometimes.

3.     The new idea isn't shiny enough: A couple of my NaNo projects have suffered from non-shininess. That new project needs to be as shiny as a brand new penny…or a disco ball, or friggin' Vegas's eye-raping dazzle, or my 5th grade teacher's bald-ass head.  Sometimes a glimmer of an idea might seem awfully bright an alluring, but after the beer goggles come off you see that taking shots of Jose Cuervo might not be the best way to come up with winning ideas. It's not that you can't make even "blah" ideas shinier, because you can, but there has to be something that attracts you to it after you sober up.

4.     Over preparation: I usually under prepare. I'm usually big on pantsing, and then get stuck halfway through wondering why I'd decided to just wing-it, and where my pants have gone (it's hard to fly by the seat of your pants without actual pants. Besides, I plant on joining some sort of anti-pants league). I've half convinced myself that all of my novel problems stem from under preparing, and that if I only spend a ridiculous amount of time preparing to actually write, that I'll have less problems when the writing happens. Nope. Problems still a happen. That's what drafts are for!

5.     Fear is the mind killer: New ideas are scary. You have to start all over again. Maybe if you put it off long enough, it will never happen. Maybe you're worried people will hate it. Maybe you worry it's too strange, or crosses too many genre boundaries. Maybe you like the idea of writing this, but secretly deep down you don't think you can't do it justice. Leaping into a new project is a little like sky-diving. There's the prep time, the plane ride up, the terror of staring out the plane, the initial jump, the stomach grabbing your throat by the balls until you reach critical velocity...and then the other thousand feet down. (Or so I hear. Sky-diving is not on my bucket list).

Right now I've been suffering from number 1, 4, and 5. I think it's time to jump into the new and shiny project.

What has kept you from starting something new?









1 Comments:

At May 18, 2012 at 9:36 AM , Blogger Carmen said...

Fear of not getting it right.

 

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