I used to have a serious issue with sticking to ideas. I’d begin work on a new story idea and once I’d gotten past the honeymoon stage where things shift from fresh and exciting to actually being work, I’d start getting new ideas.
Those ideas were always more interesting to me. While what I was working on had turned to a meandering swamp, the new always promised quick leaps and flashes of brilliance.
I knew I shouldn’t take the bait, but there was always that voice that said “If you change to that idea now, it’ll be the one you’ll be able to see through to the end.”
Whenever I did, it never worked out.
Eventually I learned to break the habit of breaking the habit. I even wrote about it last year! The point is somewhere along the line, I stopped abandoning ideas and began sticking with them. For most of this year, I’ve been working on a novel. For More Than Earthly Ends (which I admit will probably not stick as a title if a publisher ever gets involved, but you never know). More than that, I was conscientiously working on the second draft, which involved a whole lot of rewriting and not so much editing.
My initial thoughts were to write something small. A game design document. Well, small compared to a full-blown novel. It’d have a story, a setting, and it’d be something I could switch off come December 1st. Then well, the idea grew. It’s a cool idea (at least I think so), but while it was continuing to form, something was off. It all felt a bit hollow. It felt as though it occupied a space somewhere between my first NaNo and my fourth, between light space-bending scifi and theological fantasy, and that’s probably an apt analogy for the concept. Nothing wrong with it, and well, I eventually went through my usual preparation process.
The process, brainstorm. Think up ideas. Write a plan. Put together a playlist. Write. That’s the things (yes, all of them).
Thing is, the plan didn’t represent where I felt compelled to start, and the playlist (when I eventually got around to it) just didn’t inspire.
In the lead-up to NaNo, I considered not doing it. Sure, I was an ML (spoilers: last time, for a few years anyway), but I was meant to finish this novel. All of the other scifi stories I wanted to tell came after it. Fantasy I could do, but I didn’t want to get into something BIG just yet. Then I came up with the idea I started with and bam, ridiculous something.
Part of it is moving. House moves are exhausting, and there’s still much to do, which all kills writing time at home. It’s also removed my ability to attend write-ins I might ordinarily go to, and then there’s just general tiredness. None of that was an excuse last time I went through similar events.
So yesterday, I tried something else. I put on a different playlist – the one I use for FMTEE. And I felt excited. So I took my notebook to a seat out on the street, during my lunchbreak, and started writing a new chapter (chapter seven), and I immediately felt it – this story was like home. At the moment, mid-move, it’s hard to feel like my literal home is home. A sense of belonging there isn’t, yet it’s there in this story.
In case it’s not clear, I don’t mean the one I was writing for NaNoWriMo on the first of November that’s still sitting at under 1000 words. I mean FMTEE.
Starting with this chapter seven, I’m going to go back to it. I don’t think my chances of hitting 50K will be any better with it, but I’ll be writing something that means more to me. Whatever this other one is, it can wait until FMTEE is proper done.