One At a Time!

Many years ago, I would hear about other authors struggling to juggle their varied story ideas, trying to figure out where to go next, and struggling to finish the one they thought they were working on by the end of a given time. I would shake my head and feel proud of myself for working in a linear fashion. I only had one story to work on at a time. Sure, there were more stories that I could fix or attempt to write, but I had a strict one story policy that served me rather well. I congratulated myself on being OCD enough to avoid said writer problem.

It started out innocently enough. I was waiting for a NaNo session to start, I was stuck in a hospital room for the night, and a story about characters that I hadn’t written about in years came to mind. I decided to write because I needed to focus on something else. I penned what ended up being four pages single spaced on the tablet I had remembered to bring along (a great feat when you have no keyboard but the one on the screen).

Throughout the next several (stressful) days, I found the time to add to said story. I relaxed by writing in this short story. Until I hit a brick wall. I wasn’t sure what came next. Since I had no pressing deadline, I let the story sit. Nothing came to mind, like it’s supposed to do when you’re not thinking about the problem. I read over the material again. Other than correcting typos, I still had nothing. I finally just let it sit and moved on, back to the story I was supposed to be readying for publication.

Then came Story #2, following the characters in the first story that was at a stand still. It followed a series of events that I never detailed in the books that I did write about them. It was an awesome plot, and it wouldn’t leave me alone. I started writing that (in the proper first person format that I had forgotten in the first story). In between forcing myself to edit, I wrote the story, happy to follow the trail to the resolution of the problem.

Then something happened with my wedding planning. I went back to the first story, hammering out another chapter because I could. Then I went back to Story #2.

Story #2 was finished first. I completed editing my book. I looked over the first story. I added another chapter and stopped, still stuck.

Determined to participate in Camp NaNo for another session, I picked the first book following the characters in the two short stories I had been working on for three months. I thought that would help with my scatter-brained writer approach, since I needed to focus on those characters. I was wrong, apparently, since Story #1 has finally told me where it picks up again and is providing me with the useful information to continue. That’s awesome, but it still leaves me at a stand still in the story I’m supposed to be editing.

Did I mention my current editing project is also my very first book? I think my writer brain has decided to never visit it again, and it will happily work on everything else but that. Yes, my writer brain has morphed into a stubborn teenager, standing on the roof, refusing to come in until I comply with her demands.

At some point, I will finish editing my first book. Whether or not Story #1 is finished first is up in the air at the moment.

If you’ll excuse me, the stubborn teenager on the roof is shouting a demand. Let me open the window and see if she’s willing to be reasonable yet…


Update: I managed to complete my original story for NaNo, as well as the unfinished story that dealt with the wedding. The word count from both pieces during that time frame was enough to complete my Camp NaNo goals.

However, my first story is still a stubborn teenager. Something’s wrong with her, I have no idea what it is, and she refuses to tell me.



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2 responses to “One At a Time!

  1. I was just like you! Working on one story from start to finish before moving on, only allowing myself to free write when the editing process proved too daunting. I’ve since abandoned that behavior and have three completed first drafts. My current problem is that I’m getting the itch to write something fresh again, but have lots of editing to do, and each project is trying to get my attention.

    Sounds like your stories are speaking to you, let them. Follow the muse, she knows what to do!

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