Or, what to do when you start a lot of books and don’t have the brain space to finish them?
I’ve been doing a reasonable amount of writing lately, averaging just over a thousand words a day. But I can’t seem to finish anything. There’s the Pride & Prejudice fanfic that needs another thousand words, a series about a medieval mercenary who travels around fantasy Europe and slays monsters, The Garia Cycle, and The Avalon Chronicles. Among others. I think I’ve worked on five or six different projects in the past week, without finishing any of them.
It’s worth noting that I’m sick at the moment. So that’s a reasonable excuse for leaving stories unfinished. But even when I’m feeling okay, I keep getting attacked by plot bunnies that hang around for a few days, demanding that their story be told, then disappear into the night after a few thousand words.
This appears to be a common problem among writers. I take some comfort in the notion that I haven’t abandoned any stories; I’m just not working on that particular story at the moment. And I have been able to come back to a story and finish it after a hiatus.
The way I see it, there are three ways to deal with stories that come and go in your mind:
-buckle down and finish the stupid things. This can be useful for short periods of time, when you really need to hit that deadline, but can lead to crashing and burning after a while.
– take each one as it comes, and have a bunch of half-finished books for when your brain comes back. But you have to make sure you actually finish the story, and it doesn’t fall through the cracks.
-go and do something else, until the brain comes back. Don’t force it too hard, else you’ll end up hating writing.
I’ve been doing a little of all three. I’m making myself write in fifteen minute increments, because anyone can write for that long, and I get about three hundred words out of each increment. I’m also allowing the new plots to show up and take over for brief periods of time, and going back to the old ones when I can. And I’ve started re-learning to sew, which is causing its own set of woes and successes (still can’t figure out why the machine is stitching unevenly, but I’ll sort it out eventually. Figuring out how to adjust the bobbin tension was an accomplishment).
But I’m going to take a nap, now, and see if I can’t get rid of this cold. So, talk among yourselves. How do you handle stories that come and go of their own volition?
(image is from Pixabay; not mine)