(This post was originally written on 750words.com. It has been edited.)
Instead of devoting the first 20 minutes of my day to this venture, it’s become the last. Not that that’s particularly a bad thing thing. But what’s happening is, instead of using these 800 words to expel bad words before writing good words, it’s just become expelling. It’s become a matter of getting words out and making the deadline and making the word count. It’s getting harder. Not yet a chore, but that will change, I hope. It’s just right now.
I’m still trying to adapt to this new lifestyle. I’m still trying to find energy and time and space. I just want to lay here and read. I don’t want to write. I want to want to write, but it’s not yet turning itself into action. I have no direction. What is this story going to be at the end of it? Is it going to be a novel or just a collection of random bits about the same characters? Do other characters get to speak? Does this story have a moral at the end of it? Does it need one? I have to find answers to these questions. Not all of these questions, and some that aren’t here, at the moment, that I haven’t even thought of yet, but answers. I need answers.
I don’t need answers to write, thankfully. It can actually sometimes be better not to have too many answers before you start. That’s my theory, at least. I have methods, when I think about it. I either want no information going in or I want all the information. That’s my problem. I want to read all the books, see all the movies, know all the facts. Or I just want to write. Start with a list of prompts and a crazy idea, and just go. Both have worked for me, but neither have got me published.
So what do I do? Something in between? Or keep going down one direction until it works. That’s self-selecting, a bit, isn’t it? If I just write, then get published, have I proved that that’s the way to do it? Or have I just proved that that particular story didn’t need a month of research? I don’t know, and I can’t know until I get something published, I think.
My biggest problem is my big brain. There’s too much room in there, which sounds like a bad thing, like I don’t have enough ideas, but it’s just the opposite. The problem is how much room I have to store ideas. They just keep piling up, collecting dust. They look shiny one moment, then dull the next. I have no control over anything it seems. I wonder if the magpie method would work. Have a number of projects on the burners, and just juggle them around, giving one a little stir, keeping another on a low flame, while frying up front over high with another. Dip in and out until something’s done. I have a couple I’m working on.
I think, sometimes, that all these stories are really just one story. The actual plot still eludes me. It always does. I never know how to structure my stories. Shakespeare had it easy. He just used the war. It’s a natural progression, from preparation to battle to climax to recovery to end. I wish I had something that easy.