Monday, May 9, 2011

Too Many Plates, Not Enough Sticks

At my job we are always working on our development, both personal and professional, and a common theme seems to appear in mine. I procrastinate, I am a terrible planner, and extremely disorganized. My words, no one else's. However that is not the theme to which I am referring. There is a prevailing roadblock that prevents me from writing to what I believe is my potential. This roadblock is “What Does Finished Look Like?” Damned if I cannot answer that question.

This made me come face to face with a strength and a weakness all rolled into one.

The strength – I have a story in my head.

The weakness – it is floating around in fragments of no particular order, with no real end in sight and I cannot seem to tell it.

Yes, I think I could write it if I could see the end. Right now it is a jumbled mess that I know will take a lot of work, focus, and dedication to tell it. I have never been good at working backwards. I sat in on a project meeting at work where we were laying out a road map and knowing what finished looked like made all the previous pieces fall into place like dominoes – but in reverse. I know it will work if I apply this same process to writing. Am I simply too lazy to do the work? Do I have what it takes? Not to mention finding the quiet time (because yes, I now need quiet in order to really focus) when time is at a premium for me.

I always thought I was a linear writer because I could not move on to part B until part A was perfect, and I mean perfect. I struggle with plucking written scenes from a cloud and making it work. Even if I think of it as a puzzle with all the pieces on the board that I just need to assemble, it is still very very hard. Some excellent advice I received from a blog mate was to just write it as it comes. Editing can come later. Since I get stuck trying to perfect where I am instead of moving forward this was a critical piece of advice. And it worked. Lately I have found that assembling from the pieces I have floating in the cloud is working.

How do you make it happen? How do you turn those abstract ideas in a concrete foundation for a story/novel? I am certainly trying.

2 comments:

  1. Oh, I completely missed this post. You know, this is a huge issue of mine. I haven't quite thought of it as a weakness because this is what makes my story structures sort of unique.

    It is difficult though. I end up writing a lot of notes to myself, trying to connect ideas. I write out scenes, and then find out that while that scene was helpful and had things I could use, I was headed in the wrong direction and have to take the scene out entirely or combine it with another scene.

    I even tried taking out a piece of paper on Friday and writing out all the threads in the story and then linking them so that I won't forget anything as I work.

    I'm a mess. It is frustrating.

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  2. I came to a point where I could not see where I was going at all. Like I was writing to write. I just stopped at one point and said "I don't like this," and set it aside.

    I usually don't have trouble cobbling together bits of story here and there but this one just froze my brain.

    It also did not help that something else grabbed my attention either! It is frustrating.

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