Friday, November 14, 2014

The struggle of writing

For a four years now, since I first learned about NaNoWriMo, I've been working on a fictional story. My timing seemed to be off that first attempt, since I had an infant at home, along with our preteen daughter and a full-time job. An active family just wasn't conducive to the writing commitment that needed to be made. Although I didn't complete NaNo that month, I've still worked on my story off and on over the years.

And it's hard.

I know every writer shares this struggle. But I have so many questions that I just don't know the answers to! Most of my writing is simple - I have an idea, and I write until I've exhausted that idea. My problem this time is it's not finished and I have no idea where to go next. I have no outline, no set length, not even a title.

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And titles - how do people come up with titles? I have a hard enough time naming blog posts, much less a novel. The pressure!

I know the advice - just write. Write and get the words out and edit later. That is a huge struggle for me, since I self-edit constantly. I don't move on to the next passage until the one I finished is perfect. In school I was the same way. I didn't write first drafts of essays and revise, I wrote the finished work (and made an A, too, darn it!). Drafts are strangers to me.

Another huge issue with this piece is that I have no idea what happens next. I can't even decide what direction this will take - happy ending? Suspenseful? Is Mr X telling the truth? Is it a ploy? I have no idea. I will decide one way, write out a few more pages, then decide later I don't like that. I've added major characters and loved the new direction, then weeks later hated it and scrap that whole section. I feel directionless, like I'm being blown about by the winds of my own rambling thoughts. I just want to grab one, feel like "this is it!" and run with it.

Tell me - can it really work that way?

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