Sunday, June 1st, 2008 • 1 Comment on Some Writer Angst on a Sunday
I’ve never been a big believer in Writer’s Block. Writer’s Paralysis, maybe. Writer’s Apathy, certainly. But Writer’s Block? Nah. I’ve never felt blocked from writing—there are just too many thoughts and ideas and snippets of dialogue and characters rolling around in my brain for me to ever feel blocked. I know what I want to write, I just can’t figure out which thing to write first.
Which is where I am today.
I have what seems to be an endless list of projects—some started, some near completion, some in the final editing stages, some no more than a few notes jotted down in a notebook or a brief synopsis typed and saved as “Novel Idea.” So many ideas swirling around and I can’t figure out what I should be writing. I try to be logical, practical—figure out where I need to be in six months, a year… but that doesn’t work. I can imagine different paths and I’m standing at a crossroads.
Do I focus on that literary novel idea that still seems beautiful and tragic and will be painful to write? Or the half-finished mystery that’s been floating around in my brain for going on three years? Or the nearly-finished chick lit novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo two years ago? Should I scrap all the old stuff and focus on something new, like the paranormal dreamer/insomniac story I’ve been working on the past few days? Turn my attention to that YA story that popped into my brain after my rant about Nivea’s anti-cellulite gel-cream (grr… I still hate that gel-cream term!)? What do I write next?
Should I forget working on a novel right now since I’m so torn by which story to write? Should I focus on the third draft of my screenplay For Ever? Should I go ahead and start that new screenplay idea that makes me smile when I think about it? Should I just focus on getting caught up on short fiction deadlines so I’m not submitting stuff the week it’s due? What do I write next?
What do I write next?
This is not what I consider Writer’s Block. I have an abundance of ideas, not a shortage. It’s like the kid who gets too many toys at Christmas and suffers from sensory overload. It’s hard to enjoy any one thing when there are so many other good things competing for your attention. It is definitely a mental overload of sorts. And the more I think on it, the more bogged down I get. Being logical doesn’t work. Reading mailing lists to see which publishers/lines are looking for stuff
, checking Publishers Marketplace to see what the hot new deals have been made, going over publishers’ guidelines to see if one particular idea I have is suited to a certain publisher, combing my wishlist of agents and perusing the blogs of Writers I Want to Be When I Grow Up, only muddies the waters further. Too many distractions and not enough writing, that’s the problem.
I need to go with my instincts, but I fear my instincts are at odds with my heart. And we all know which one wins (at least for me). I can’t write everything right now, but I need to start somewhere. I need to just shut off all the voices in my head and start writing—or continue writing—something. (Something other than a blog post.)
I’ll write 20 pages and let you know how I feel in the morning.