Insecurity abounds… the beginning is the end

By | June 4, 2013

Hello, my name is Sasha and I’m an insecure writer. Welcome to this blog, which I share with no less than seven other writers, and I’m pretty sure we all have our insecurities.

So, today, in the name of the Book Bunnies, here I am blogging about it for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

In particular, I want to tell you about my Big Problem….

I have ideas.

But that’s a good thing, you say… ideas – and the imagination they spring from, isn’t that a vital part of being a writer? The fact that we can pull stories out of what, to everyone else, seems to be thin air? Everybody loves a good idea, a nice story starter, right?

Not me.

I have too many of them, you see. Endless amounts of stories that want to be told, expanded upon…ended. And there lies the problem, or, as my friend Tessa likes to say, the sleeping dog (and isn’t that a story started in and of itself? But I digress…). So what do I do with all those ideas? Not a clue. I’ve got at least a hundred files on my computer, each one a story in it’s own particular state of constructions. Sometimes it’s just a character or two who came to mind, sometimes a particular situation, a tagline, an ending, even. The point is that a) I can never seem to decide what to work on and b) I’m rubbish at ending things. I get stuck.

Sometimes I wish that instead of lots and lots and lots of little bits of stories, I could think of one story from start to finish. Suffice to say, for most of my stories The Beginning is the End…

How does that work for you? Do you have an idea overload like I do? Or is your focus better and your ideas all relate to the story you’re working on?

Please let me know or just say hi,

thank you for popping in on The Book Bunnies! Don’t forget to check out some of the other Insecure Writers… there’s lots!!

Go check them out at Alex J Cavanaugh’s blog (he’s one of the Founders of the IWSG)!

 

 

Sash

I write. I drink some coffee. I re-write. I print it out, go mad with the red pen. I stare at the muffin sitting on my desk...no, just one more line, just this paragraph...*mnompfh* OK never mind.

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10 Comments

Laura Eno on 5 June 2013 at 8:04 AM.

I feel your pain…and posted about the same thing this month! :)
Welcome to the IWSG. It’s a great group of supportive people.
Laura
Laura Eno – A Shift in Dimensions

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Sash on 5 June 2013 at 1:09 PM.

Thanks for the welcome! I’ll go see your post right away ;)

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Melissa Maygrove on 5 June 2013 at 8:37 AM.

I guess I’m too obsessive not to finish. LOL But I do come up with more ideas than I can write at a time. I do have a few stories in various stages on my computer. One is nothing more than an opening scene. Another is an ending. :P

I’m not sure where you are in your study of the craft, but maybe reading a book like Blake Snyder’s ‘Save The Cat’ might help. His ‘beat sheet’ and his examples of the various turning points helped me immensely when plotting my current WIP. Perhaps putting it to an outline will get you thinking about and (more importantly) excited about the whole thing.

Welcome to the group.
IWSG# 123, until Alex culls the list again. :)

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Sash on 5 June 2013 at 1:10 PM.

I’ve heard of that book, never managed to organize myself enough to get it, though. I really should…

Also, I wish I were obsessive enough to finish, and be more consistent. I’m working on that….

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Sydney Aaliyah Michelle on 5 June 2013 at 9:52 AM.

I had this problem. I would make notes on my phone about any and every idea that popped into my head and then transfer that to my computer and had a huge clutter of untold and half stories. I had to train myself to think of only one story at a time or my brain and my computer got stuck. haha.

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Sash on 5 June 2013 at 1:11 PM.

How does one train oneself to do that? Please tell me!!! PRETTY PLEASE!!

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kaye draper on 5 June 2013 at 6:24 PM.

I do this too! They don’t usually make it to my computer, but I often feel like I will never get to all the novels I want to write! Usually when I have an idea, I write it down in a notebook. I put in as many details as I see fit. sometimes it’s just a few words, sometimes a scene or two. Then I tuck it away and finish whatever it is I’m working on. I don’t usually work on more than once. By jotting my ideas down, I feel like I can get them out of my head and feel secure in the fact that they are there waiting for me when I finish my current WIP. My problem is always deciding which one to work on next when I finish a project. I tend to go with whichever characters start speaking to me first. :)
Kaye Draper at Write Me

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Jamie Ayres on 5 June 2013 at 6:30 PM.

Hey, I have the attention span of a fruit fly on crack, so I hear ya! But somehow we must have the willpower to focus on one shiny object at a time–if I can do it, you can :-)

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M. J. Joachim on 5 June 2013 at 11:34 PM.

Ideas can be the death of us, especially when there are too darn many of them, and they all want to meld together like a big pot of dirty sock soup or something. Best to keep a list and hope you remember the best ones when it’s time to write your stories.

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Mencara on 6 June 2013 at 9:58 AM.

Welcome to IWSG. I used to be the same way! I had what felt like millions of story snippets and blurbs and opening lines and paragraphs that went nowhere. I’d get bored, discouraged or flaky. Pick one.

It is very easy to fall in love with your idea. I’ve talked about this before on my blog, but your idea is a little having a crush. When you have a crush, the other person is whatever you want them to be. Your idea is the same. It’s this perfect little gem that is unblemished, unquestioned and much loved. You have tucked it into a drawer and you know that as long as you don’t open the drawer, it’s there perfect.

Taking your idea and writing a novel, well that’s like having a relationship. It’s messy, complicated, frustrating and exhilerating. It’s out of the drawer. You could find out it doesn’t work as well as you thought. What seemed cute early on may become cloying. What felt perfect may well be nothing at all.

It’s a lot harder taking it out of the drawer but you get no reward (emotional or otherwise) by leaving it in there. Just anxiety that it’s sitting there useless and beautiful.

The first thing I did to change this was I joined and participated in NaNoWriMo. Which is an online writing challenge (nanowrimo.org) and my friend and I both wrote 50,000 word novels in 30 days. It was exhillerating and brutal. The point of NaNo is to let go of your “inner editor” and give yourself permission to suck. The goal is quantity. It’s to JUST WRITE. Give yourself permission to just write without worrying that you will muck up your shiny gem of an idea. And once you do it successfully, you won’t be as scared to take the gems out of the drawer.

That was the first thing I did and it was the most liberating writing experience of my life. I hated it but I needed to do it because I had to learn how to turn off the mean editor in my head that was discouraging me.

After that, the next thing, thing I’m still learning, is the importance of having a plan. It’s nice to have a shiny idea, but without a plan, you’ll just begin it and won’t know where to go. The nice thing about plans is that you can change them as you go along but it still helps to have a bit of structure, going in. The one thing I think writers struggle with is the idea of plotting the book ahead of time. We think it will kill the freedom we have. But we think that without ever TRYING it. Try writing a detailed outline. If that doesn’t work, try writing a rough simple outline. Try a list of scenes you’d like in there and leave space to fill in the blanks around them. Have some sense of where you’d like the story to go, to what you want to say and it’s a lot easier to keep forging ahead because you will have a goal in mind. Meandering around with a character and hoping they will do something interesting can work on occassion, but it’s usually just an exercise in frustration for the writer. Give your character and interesting thing to do and THEN let see what they do with it.

Hope that is helpful to you :) If the idea of NaNoWriMo scares you, try reading the founders book, “No Plot, No problem” by Chris Baty. It is very useful all by itself. My friend and I read it and hosted our own 30 day challenge outside of NaNoWriMo and that’s how we wrote our first novels.

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