Writing is an intense process that takes a lot of time and energy. It’s given me some of the greatest joys and greatest frustrations I’ve ever experienced.
One of the most challenging parts for me is the back and forth that happens at the beginning of pretty much every project. This is before the writing of words even begins—I’m talking before I’m even ready to make an outline. It’s the seemingly endless cycle of “what if” that can be both amazingly fun…and feel like flailing.
I’ll come up with one way the story could go and think along the storyline until I run into something that seems to make the story hit a wall. Then I backtrack to where I think things went off course and try again. And again, and again. I go through this until I finally find the path that leads to the story that I want. Then, and only then, do I start my outline. The longer the piece, the longer it takes.
I’ve talked to writer friends about it, and it seems to be something we all deal with—and that we’re all handling differently. This time around, I’ve decided to do something crazy. Instead of doggedly trailing one storyline after another with a near obsessive focus until I get out all the kinks in the piece I’m working on, I’m going to jump around between stories.
Yup. I’ve given myself permission to work on more than one piece at a time.
This is not my usual way of going about things. I normally tell myself I can’t start another piece until I finish the one I’m working on. That’s how I’ve finished so much in the last year and a half. But I think I’m ready to try something different. I’m ready to try something new.
There were dead zones in that year and a half. Usually when I was blocked on a story and trying to figure out what was wrong. Letting myself work on more than one thing at a time, I’m hoping to both keep those times productive, and maybe even help my subconscious work through things in a bit more organic of a fashion.
I may even *gasp* try pantsing a piece or two.
I know, right?
Instead of endless back and forth on a single piece, I’ll be jumping back and forth between many stories, picking up threads as they rise in my subconscious, seeing what sorts of knots work themselves out on their own without me chewing on them.
It’s a new year. Why not try a new process?
I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂 Wish me luck!