2/18/17

Keeping Focused

One of the hard things about writing, aside from all of it, is keeping focused on the current project. When the words (and ideas) are flowing, it's fairly easy to keep on task. After all, the story wants to be told, so it seems natural to tell it.

Until you hit a block--either a lost desire to write or a tricky scene or you're unclear where to go next. That's when temptation strikes.

It might be to not write at all. After all, you have two seasons of Voltron: Legendary Defenders to catch up on (and so much knitting to do). Or you'll suddenly get an idea for another story. And since that's new and exciting, you are raring to go write that one! Trust me, your brain/muse/shoulder-devil says, this story is much more interesting.

This is where focusing comes in. Because as tempting as that shiny new story is, if you run off with it, you'll be leaving the other story behind, likely to never get finished. Sometimes this might be a good thing--maybe you really aren't feeling the story and it's not something you want to finish. That's a decision that needs to be made. But if you want to finish the story, then wandering off with the newest floozy story won't help. 

I speak from experience. See, I have my current contemporary romance all plotted out (sorta) and I know where it needs to go. And I sorta knew how to get there. But there were a few scenes that were about to happen that were....not going to be incredibly exciting. And I didn't want to write them, because I didn't have the heaviest drama pulling me along, and I can't have the guys arguing in every scene. 

Then, while working one day, I got this idea for a steampunk story inspired by The Glass Menagerie. At first I threw the idea on Twitter, because I totally wasn't writing that story.

And then spent the rest of the day thinking about it, plotting it out, checking the original plot of The Glass Menagerie and now I have a fully fleshed-out plot.

The important part of this post, though, is that while I took notes, I didn't start actually writing the story. I said, "Well that's a fun idea, maybe later" and jotted everything down, and put it aside, and the next day I talked with the puppy and worked out the kinked section of my current story, and kept on writing.

Of course, I have a binder full of story ideas that are waiting to be written, so we'll see how that goes. But the important part is that if you keep getting distracted by the next pretty story, you'll have a bunch of unfinished ones littered around you that the world will never see. 

Keep on task! That's the only way to submit to a publisher, finish a knitting project....or complete anything in life, I suppose.

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