Fuel for the bonfire

©2023 michael raven

I’m going to try something different from my normal practices here on sceadugenga, mix it up a bit.

I am going to share a bit less about several things.

Namely, I have a number of conceptual ideas for stories that I am interested in pursuing.

What normally happens here is that I get wrapped up in presenting the concept in a blog post, and then making arguments for or against elements in a draft proof of concept (proof to me maybe more than proof to you; as always, mileage varies with the relative perspective one or both of us entertains). I expend a lot of creative energy in that form of presentation rather than just getting on with the process of writing the story I have in mind. By the time I get around to the actual writing of the story, I start to question every detail I have proposed and I end up getting stuck — or disinclined to finish. In other words, I start to overthink any tale I might have told, mostly because I have set up expectations instead of just getting on with the process.

Then, as I start to review my work in progress, find flaws and talk myself out of writing anything more.

All of this is also related to the issue of migrating from a pantster (writing by the seat of your pants) to a planster (developing an outline and fleshed out characters before writing), which I started doing more often as my writing matured. While I have found some value in adding more structure to my writing process, I don’t think my writing is at its best when I overthink the story before it writes itself.

And, eventually, I’d like to have a novel written before I die, even if it is a self-published affair. Something I felt was at least in the Not Totally Terrible category of novels, even if it is only in the Mostly Terrible, But Shows Promise category. Let’s say it is in my bucket list: not to be a “world-famous bestselling author”, but just to have a physical object called a novel written by me in my hands that folks don’t immediately seek a bonfire to dispose of it within.

I suffer a bit from the drama that was one of the original inspirations for NaNoWriMo, which is that I always plan to get around to writing a novel “some day”. I was thinking about making changes over the weekend (and not because of the New Year, but for personal reasons) and this is one of those things that I really need to change my habits on — I need to complete and then wrangle something into a novel. I have completed several novels, but nothing that I currently feel can be made into something that other people would enjoy, if they wanted to read it at all.

It is time to break that cycle a bit.

As a result, I may be posting fewer or shorter items here. I intend to keep up with the frequency of “daily” in my posts (I have a current goal of 1000 or more days of consecutive posts, current count around 850), as I think it helps me develop as a writer. But the time I have traditionally spent looking for entertainment and distraction will (hopefully) find me with a refocus on that bucket list goal. As a result, less of this kind of jibber jabber to fill your feeds and more time spent writing without sharing what I write.

Wish me luck. I still have to decide which of the concepts (or combination thereof) I want to pursue most — but I think I’ll have that largely settled tonight and I will jump in on the effort starting tomorrow or Thursday.

Who knows? Maybe if I quit distracting myself I could even write the first draft in the next few months.

And then throw it into the bonfire myself. Before jumping in too.

13 thoughts on “Fuel for the bonfire

  1. May I wish you very good luck re. the novel. I would definitely be interested in reading it when it finally appears. Despite the saying I’m not sure that I have a novel in me – short stories, yes (I think), but not a full blown novel.
    I’m with you regarding the ‘best-selling author bit’ – it’s nice to have something physical in your hands that you have created though, even if no-one else gives it the time of day.
    From a personal perspective (and I know that planning for a novel.is a different prospect) I usually (but not always!) have a rough idea of where I want to go with a story and then just get writing – I agree when you say about how over thinking stunts you and puts you off. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I may need some serious luck. I’ve never been terribly happy with my product in the past and I often wonder why I think I have it in me.

      We shall see if I can manage to at least tick this box. My confidence is already draining away overnight.

      Liked by 1 person

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