But I Don’t Wanna!
When the words flow, it’s like flying. Like being in love and walking on air.
And it usually happens when you _ought_ to be writing something else.
If the life of the writer was easier, there would be a whole lot more of us. But it isn’t easier, and sometimes we just have to go back to the old story and finish it. Edit it. Polish it. Rewrite it because every single beta reader said the same thing didn’t work for them.
And the story you shouldn’t be writing is right there, pushing at you.
What do you do about it?
That’s both the curse and the blessing of Indy. There’s no one but my inner Nanny nagging at me. “You _said_ you were going to finish this by the end of the month! And here you are doodling down another scene from another new book!” No contract deadlines. It doesn’t matter, if the book gets pushed off another month.
Except it does. The longer between releases, the lower your sales of previous books go, the lower your author rankings, your books fall out of the sub-sub-genre best selling lists. An extra couple of months between releases, and that new release is going to have to dig out of a pit, instead of starting one rung up the ladder, lofted by sales to people who liked the previous book.
So the curse of Indy is that you can easily divert or procrastinate yourself into lower sales.
So . . . you–or in this case me–needs to kick herself in the derriere, and write what she needs to do.
Part of the time.
Yeah, fly with the new story! Get that scene down. Give a big breath of repletion. Tell yourself “good job, kick back and think about the next scene while doing some scut work on that tired old story (that had you flying just a few months ago.)”
Umm. If only it were so easy.
Hauling your mind out of one set of characters, one situation, one problem and into a whole other set of them is difficult. I hate thinking in romantic clichés, but that older work, that’s the ex-lover who let you down, and now you’ve found a new love. The old lover wants to meet for dinner? Oh gawd, please, I need an excuse, any excuse to get me out of this!
Because to do justice to a story, you have to love it, get in and _be_ the POV character. You can’t write it at arms length, like an encounter you want over as quickly as possible, with as little public fuss as possible. Well, you can. Trust me, your readers can tell. My beta readers point it out to me, regularly. “This reads like you were tired of the scene and just rushed to finish it.”
And all of my whining that the next scene is _so_ fantastic . . . doesn’t change the fact that I slapped a fast coat of finish on the previous bit. And that was just a chapter in a book. Do that to a whole book, and you’re going to bleed readers. I can’t afford that.
So, stop procrastinating.
Yank the plug on the modem. You can check your email and facebook after five pee emm.
Don’t bribe yourself with a promise of chocolate or single malt scotch, half your mind will keep thinking about the reward, instead of settling down to the job.
Then . . . how do you get your head back in the old story? If you read it, it’ll take a couple of days. So reread just the last couple of scenes that are in the MC’s POV. Immerse yourself, find that character’s voice and then start writing when you get to the end.
Do you post snippets on line where your alpha/beta readers can get to it? Set a schedule, so you’ve got an external deadline. “They expect at least a thousand words a day. Even I can manage a thousand words.” If you don’t want feedback on small bits, Google Docs has multiple levels of access. Anyone with the URL can read. Or comment. Or edit. Set it however you wish. Very handy.
But you’ll still have the problem of those stories that want to be told right now. Try and placate them with a quick scene or synopsis, then get back to work.
Sometimes they just have to be written, to get them out of the way. It’s tough to tell when an idea is born of procrastination, and when it is born of genius. As a writer, you don’t want to lose the later, so sometimes you’ll find yourself writing a procrastination story.
Meh. None of us are perfect. What’s your favorite method of getting back in the story you need to finish?
And since I’ve procrastinated myself into nothing new for awhile, try something silly today: