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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Diving In

Since I posted a picture of winter boots yesterday, I thought I should lift our spirits today with a picture of something that will remind us that warm weather will come (eventually anyway). In my previous post, I talked about wanting to learn what it feels like to move on in 2010. The second thing I want to learn is what it feels like to dive in without looking back. I have two works in progress that have been on the back burner for several months now. I'm excited about both projects, and I look forward to diving into them when I finish the revisions on my current manuscript. The problem is, I'm not sure which one to dive into first. And to complicate matters even further, I have two additional ideas that are screaming at me to take notice. I faced this dilemma last spring, so I worked on both projects at the same time. This didn't work so well for me. I made it through about six chapters of one project, and only three of the other. This year, I want to pick one and stick with it until it is complete. I want to commit to one of them and not second guess my decision and start working on the other prematurely. In other words, I want to trust my instincts and dive in instead of testing the waters. My goal is to know what it feels like to have completed not just one novel, but two. Have you ever had too many ideas flying around in your head? If so, how did you decide in which direction to go?

41 comments:

Stephanie L. McGee said...

Yeah, I have way too many ideas in my brain. I paused on one WiP to hit one of them a few months ago. I lasted a month before the call of the other WiP was too strong to ignore.

If the story is strong and you're very excited about it, you still will be when it's time to devote your attention to it.

Veronica Barton-Dean said...

Susan->

You know I'm in the same boat on this one. Too many ideas, so little time. I don't have much advice I'm afraid except for let the characters speak to you! But when you do decide-and you will-I have no doubt you'll take it head on!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I'm like you, I have trouble actively working on two projects at once. Right now I have one on the backburner and one I'm drafting. Both ideas call to me, but I chose to work on the one I did because it's the second in a series (not a sequel, just another character's story from the first book) and the characters are still fresh in my mind. Plus, the first one is on a full read with a romance publisher who often picks up multi-book series. So it's an exercise in optimism on my part I guess. We'll see.

Good luck on deciding which one you're going to pursue!

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

I feel your pain, last year I had three wips and it did not work out for me either. I am dedicating this year to one wip only. As far as which one to drive into...I say "go with your instincts and then dedicate yourself to that project. As far the other projects screaming at you, jot your ideas and whatknots in a journal and come back to them later.

Good luck.

Happy Writing!

Heather Sunseri said...

I have a new idea brewing in my head right now, but I'm determined to leave it there until I've finished the project I'm working on now. It's so hard. I plan to start a notebook just to write down thoughts about this new idea, but I won't go any further than that until after tax season and after my current project is done. That's the plan anyway.

Michelle Gregory said...

i always have too many ideas floating around in my head. most of them are short stories (well, shorter than a novel stories) and since i'm easily bored, i work on those when i get tired of working on my novel. but i do need to jump back into my novel and finish.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

No! I'm so jealous! I get one idea at a time and that's that! So frustrating! Because in between the end of a project and the beginning of another, a lot of time can pass! You're so lucky!

Right now I have a new WIP that I hope to start working on again in the next few weeks. of course, I'm not sure where it's going since I'm a pantster. There is one thing a bit different this time though. A few weeks ago I got a first line of another novel. Nothing else. I hoping I'm starting to turn a corner and get multiple ideas at once. Hopefully. If not, you'll see my frustration on my blog! :0)

Good for you! And that picture made me really happy!

Corey Schwartz said...

Too many idea sis never my problem, but i did say in my new year's post to trust your gut. So,. definitely try to go with your instincts!

Dominique said...

Usually, I check which idea is most fully baked. Then, I pull that one to the front burner for a little more cooking. Once it's mostly cooked, I run with that one, and I leave the others to stew a bit more. Their time will come.

Tamika: said...

For me it's important to concentrate on one project at a time. I get ideas for several others while I'm working, and I jot down the bones of the idea and move away from it. If I don't operate that way I will never complete anything.

Julie said...

I have the same problem but i can tell you that I reluctantly pushed ideas aside in order to finish something and found that they grew even stronger.

That's probably what will happen if your idea is strong enough.

Vonna said...

I've got files on several projects and I want to write them all! But when certain characters and settings invade my dreams and I start spending hours haunting the web for background info on these characters and settings, I know that is my next project.

Kristi Faith said...

I have spells where nothing seems like a good story and then the current one I'm in...everything would be a great book. I just have to write it. Ok, not possible. I jot down what is flying through my head on notecards or in my memomaster program and try to stay focused on the one that is the furthest along. LOL I don't have a write answer for you. LOL

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I'm also in the two WiP boat and like Roni the two are linked loosely with a shared character. My goal is to give my focus to the first one and make a fish-or-cut-bait decision before I move onto the second. Luckily they can both stand alone with some minor changes. I'm setting some weekly goals to keep me on track.

Dara said...

I'm still trying to figure that out. :P Sometimes I have to write a brief summary/outline for an idea if it won't stop screaming at me. I generally don't write more than one at a time, although sometimes a scene from my last WiP will pop in my head and I can't ignore it.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

As much as i love teaching,I would love to take a year off and dive into writing full time.

Suzyhayze said...

Just focus on the one that won't freaking go away. The nasty no see em one. The fly in the soda.

Chelle Sandell said...

I've got several stories I've worked on in the last two years. I decided to join a plotting bootcamp and push myself to finish the one that yelled the loudest. So far so good...day 5 and I haven't moved on yet. LOL. Good luck!

Tere Kirkland said...

I can't do two drafts at the same time. It's not fair to me or the novel.

Oddly enough, though, sometimes when I near the end of a first draft and I'm having trouble figuring out how to wrap things up at the end, I'll just drop the first wip for a week and work on something else. I find that switching gears often helps me to think about the first wip in a different way. And then once I finish that first draft, I'll have something to work on while I let it sit and mellow before I revise.

The key is making yourself come back and finish. For me, I promise myself I can't actually type anything from wip 2 until I finish wip 1, only write in my notebook. That keeps me motivated to write both.

I'm working on my fourth novel right now, but I'm thinking of revisiting the second when I'm finished with it. I had a lot of great ideas with that one, but now I feel like I'm a better writer, so I may try to rewrite the first few chapters from memory and see how that goes.

Good luck with your writing. It'll happen if you persevere!

Kathy said...

Oh yeah, I always have too many ideas at once. I am very willing to try a few projects all at the same time.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I'm in Heather's boat and your boat. I have two or three strong concepts for future books but have decided to go with the characters that have a rich story to tell (the more fleshed out ones in my mind).

~ Wendy

Karen said...

I constantly have different ideas floating around in my head. When I was much younger, I used to just work on everything I was thinking of, afraid the ideas would disappear.

Now, I am just staying true to this one particular novel because I really love the story and want to see it through. And whenever I think of a different project, I jot down the idea in a notebook because I know one day I'll have time for it. Just not right now.

strugglingwriter said...

Nope. My brain is only big enough for the one idea. I'm definitely a "working on one project at a time" guy.

Tara McClendon said...

What an exciting time. I always have too many ideas floating around in my head, but I usually find one takes precedence. It comes to mind more often than the others. The other thing I do is write down thoughts when I have them so I don't lose them or forget them when I have some down time. Good luck with diving in.

Carolyn V. said...

I am just going to pick one area and work on it until it's done! But I'm having a hard time picking that one area. =) Good luck on your revisions!

Stephanie Thornton said...

I absolutely can't work on two projects at the same time. I wish I could, but I get all muddled and that's not good.

Good luck!

Anna C. Morrison said...

Hm...I try to write them all down, even if it's sketchy or a rough outline, then I can follow those paths later, if I choose. Good luck!

Nancy said...

Here's what I'd do, and I have done this. Write down just the basics of the idea you don't want to work on. The things you might forget. Then forge ahead and devote your full time to the project you love, knowing that the first one isn't floating in your head somewhere trying to get out.

Patti said...

I agree I tried working on two back in the fall and it totally didn't work. My friend once told me that she works on different scenes in the same book, but I'm kind of a linear writer so I'm not sure that would work for me.

I work on one project but take notes on others.

quixotic said...

I know what you mean about having too many things to work on at the same time. You just have to pick one and go for it. It's not like you can't take a break if needed. If you hem and haw about it you will miss out on time you could have been working. At least, that's the advice I am giving myself. LoL.

jbchicoine said...

Before I started my first novel, I had several stories ricocheting off brain cells. The one with more clarity escaped first. When I could stand it no longer, I dove into my current WIP, even though I knew it presented far more of a challenge.

storyqueen said...

Like you, I did two at the same time. Actually, I kind of liked it. When I got to "crunch time" (the point in writing where there is no room for anything but one WIP because it is demanding to be finished) I put the other aside for a while. It was nice to come back to.

Having two to choose from made it so I could never use writer's block as an excuse.

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh, yes! I usually work on one until I get 'stuck' ... then pull out the other one. It's a nice way to get some 'space' from each as I work through them.

Shelli said...

the one that called to me the most. Follow your gut

Melanie's Randomness said...

This happens to me all the time. I usually blame A.D.D. but I haven't really had that since I was a lil girl. lol. I'm brainstorming my zombie novel but then I think of another idea & I don't know if it'll work in this story or branch into another project. I'm going to try & do just one too. It's hard.

Cassandra Frear said...

When I figure out what to do with all those ideas, I'll be sure to let you know! For now, they are just flappin' in the breeze!

Lily Robinson said...

I'm that way with everything! I'm wondering how I will decide which project will be next...

staceyjwarner said...

Susan congrats on your growing number of readers!

I often have a lot of ideas and just pick one but if I don't stick to it, I don't beat myself up.

I've been wavering between screenplays and prose and this has eaten up precious writing time...

much love

Angie Muresan said...

Susan at this time I'm in speechless admiration for you. I could never see myself working on two things at once. Good luck and blessings!

Robyn Campbell said...

It's a welcome break to switch to another WIP. It kind of refreshes you. I work on my novel and then switch to a PB or chapter book I'm doing. The chapter book was actually a PB but grew and I decided to make it a chapter book. Plus I'm dipping into poetry and haiku. It helps you with descriptions in your novels. Hmmm, Isa goin' to do a post about that.

But I understand your frustration. I could NOT work on two novels at the same time. No way no how.

Pick the one that you absolutely HAVE to tell. That will be the one. And make sure you have folders with those other ideas in them Susan. If they are screaming, they simply must have their stories told. :)

Janna Qualman said...

Love that picture, Susan!

Great for you! I've had more than one story beating my door down, too, and I think it's a great problem to have. Best as you tackle your work!