Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring is A-Sproinging

Here in South Jersey, we are having middle school weather: very dramatic with sudden, terrible storms, freezing cold mornings and warm, sunny afternoons. I like the transition of seasons more than the actual seasons. Actual seasons are fairly predictable.

This is also the time of year that I make resolutions. I never feel like making resolutions when it's cold and gray outside. All I want to do then is read Russian novels and bake butterscotch brownies. Spring matches a sense of renewal. It's so much more hopeful than sleet.

Today, I'll make two resolutions since more than that overwhelms me.

My first resolution is to make our yard go from:

to:


My second is to actually COMPLETE a novel. I have three novels right now, yup, three, all of which need revision and endings. Annoying, those editors - they won't buy my stuff unless I have an ending.

I keep coming up with 75% of a novel...it's like a disorder. I can't wait to work on this new idea so I skip working on novel A to start novel B. I wonder if having a writing schedule would help. I could clear my throat and announce, "I'm going to write today from two to six." I would march off into my study.

Wait.

I don't have a study. And I never march. Scratch that.

Maybe I should take one of those focus supplements they sell at Rite Aid. They are supposed to help the over 40 folks like me who have the attention span of rabbits. What's weird is I can focus in all other areas of my life; I just want to work on new stuff.

Does this happen to other folks? It's like, "Ohhh, give me that bright and shiny new storyline, and I'll go back to the other one...eventually." Or do you see the current one through to the end?

12 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

I was having such a hard time finishing my Steampunk novel. Finally realized I had to delete some of what I'd written because the ending would drag on forever if I didn't. I needed to reread the whole thing to figure that out, but it worked.

I'm not far enough along the learning curve to give you much help - but I'll send good wishes your way - and maybe some magic writing dust!! :)

Hardygirl said...

Oooo. I just love the bright, shiny new story. It's like a new boyfriend--before he's introduced you to his foot odor and overbearing mother.

sf

Mary Witzl said...

This made me laugh, as did Hardygirl's comment.

I've been struggling with three WIPs myself for the past three months (a women's book, an MG I've been editing forever, and a YA), so I know all too well how this feels. So irritating the way everyone expects a perfect ending with all problems resolved and all loose bits carefully tied up. Sigh...

storyqueen said...

I like to work on projects concurrently...so I allow myself to play with the shiny new things.

But finishing stuff.....it takes longer when you are working on so much stuff!

Shelley

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm revising my debut novel and my wip, and I was so close to starting a brand new novel. I had to put the new one down. I can only concentrate on two projects, max.

Anne Spollen said...

Thanks for the writing dust, Jemi. Doesn't deleting sting? Like all those wonderful words, just gone. But it's necessary surgery.

That's it, sf! I want to avoid the foot odor and the overbearing mother, and also the felony in the bf's past. The bright and shiny new one is so much more promising...

I know, Mary. Wouldn't it be nice if editors could just buy our 75% stories? That way, we could finance time to work on our new ones.

Shelley, what you are saying is so logical. I don't know why I don't tape that sentence to my computer screen. I don't finish a story when I'm out on the town with a new one. No self discipline here, just indulgence.

I wish I could just focus on two projects at the same time, Medeia. That would be great; it would force me to complete things. Unfortunately, I have ADHD in the area of novel writing.

Doreen McGettigan said...

This always happens to me! I have a filing cabinet full of unfinished projects..I do set time to write everyday. Sometimes I just sit and blog and then write a few lines..other times I get so lost in writing hours go by. I am now trying to concentrate on 3 projects. Have vowed to do at least one bit of writing on all 3 every day..

Anita said...

I just finished your novel The Shape of Water and since I thought it was incredibly beautiful, looked up your blog. Can't wait to read Light Beneath Ferns (and your other future work).

Stewart Sternberg said...

Ah, the joy of ADD. You know, one of the things that happens is that people tend to get bored during the more tedious part of writing..you know, proofing, revision, proofing, revising again.etc. Drudgery. I find it relaxing actually.

Marcia said...

Oh dear, is that what it is? Age? Or my second childhood? In my teens and early twenties, I kept starting new instead of finishing old. Then, came the years of one book at a time, all the way to the end. Now, I have three half-begun ones. But I'm totally going to finish the one I'm working on now, and then the other two. Resolved.

adrienne said...

I can't resist the shiny new project. I'm hoping the ones that have been sitting in drawers will someday seem new again...

Good luck with that garden, too!

Anne Spollen said...

Hey Doreen - welcome! Three at once, I know. I pick the one I am most in the mood for and go for it. Problem is, very little gets FINISHED...but nice to know I am not alone in my bright shininess.

Hi Anita, and welcome also! I'm glad you liked Shape of Water. LBF is for a younger reader, so I hope you like that also. Thanks so much for stopping by to tell me that; it's those kind of comments I go back and reread when I feel like, "Why am I sitting here when there's dust and laundry waiting?"
Because people write sentences to me like that, that's why -

Revision,Stewart, is like marking bad papers from college students who write in text language. "So anyway, watz the diff between Whitman and Dickinson?" I get that I need to leave sense. Only the papers I have to finish; my own stuff I can escape. Relaxing? Wow, you are a rare bird.

Yes, Marcia, they say it IS age. The older we get, the less we can focus. My theory is my kids did it to me. I had to keep track of so many things at once that I'm a fish out of water if I can focus on one thing.

The garden doesn't look like it's more than old pine needles and thistle at this point, Adrienne. How I wish those projects in the drawer could seem new, bright and shiny again. I have an embarrassing amount of first chapters. Maybe they could be reduced, reused and recycled into short stories? Someday...