I’ve been thinking about writing. A lot. And by thinking, I’m not talking about, “Oh, I think I should go write,” and then I don’t do it and/or feel like I can’t. That’s writer’s block, to a point, and I’m rather well-researched in that (in fact, I taught a class on it). Rather, I’ve been thinking about the act of writing, and what’s going on in my head/life that isn’t giving me the gas I need to actually write. I’ve come up with a lot of interesting conclusions, but those conclusions are for a separate post.
Today I’ve been emailing with a friend of mine who is doing a final read on Telepathic Soulmates* before I lay into the manuscript and polish it into a diamond. We’ve been talking about my work from a more thematic standpoint, and it’s quite an interesting discussion, especially since she’s very familiar with the current as well as previous drafts of Telepathic Soulmates as well as my most recently completed novel Magic Elves. And I can’t tell you why I realized the following, but it was an epiphany of sorts, and I think I know what I need to start a new project.
Because having a wicked cool idea isn’t enough to make me write. Some people write to see how the wicked cool idea plays out. I just play it out in my head. So scratch that for inspiration.
The idea of having my work published and in the hands of readers is also not enough to inspire me. In fact, it does quite the opposite, for reasons I’ll talk about in a future post.
No, what keeps me going, what makes me write and stick to it come hell or high water, kicking and screaming, is a challenge.
Challenge #1: Actually finish writing a book (this applies to the first completed draft of Telepathic Soulmates).
Challenge #2: Rewrite and finish and improve Telepathic Soulmates so I could get my Masters (done, with the student debt to prove it!).
Challenge #3: Write a page-a-day and complete a novel in a calendar year (done! With Magic Elves. It needs a complete rewrite, but it’s done!).
Realizing this, I kind of sat back at work and asked, “What’s next?”
Idea challenges don’t work for me: cool ideas are just that: cool ideas. As I mentioned before, it doesn’t keep me writing.
Publishing goals don’t work either: it also won’t produce a new novel. Rather, said goals (sending manuscript out to agents, etc) are cleaning up old writing, not producing new.
So I’m pondering. Those of you who know me and personally know my work are, admittedly, at a better advantage to know what makes me tick and what might be a solid goal that’ll get me working on a new novel. Because once I meet a goal, I just can’t do it again. The point of a challenge is to find out if you can do it, and once you’ve done it, it’s not a challenge anymore, is it?
But whether or not you know me, I’m open to suggestions. The challenges listed above that resulted in complete novels (and trust me, if you were to see the first draft of Telepathic Soulmates, you’d understand why I count three completed novels under my belt rather than just two. When I rewrite, I eviscerate!) aren’t exactly ground-breaking or super-ambitious, but they were what I needed to write and keep writing.
So share with me: what are the challenges you’re working on in your own fiction? What gets you writing? And what could my next challenge be?
* = a reminder: all titles listed on this blog are code names for the real titles. I explain why here. Because that’s how I roll.