It’s no secret I’ve been busy. I’ve spent January/February buzzing around the greater Philadelphia area like a brightly-colored bee that keeps forgetting her shoes because technically I don’t think bees have feet. But feet are irrelevant to the point I’m trying to make here. I’ve fallen into the bad habit of making excuses for myself, using the list of things I could do as justification to ignore the things I should do.
While I hope most writers will agree that reading is a fundamentally accepted Good Thing for would-be writers to do, lately I’ve gotten a bit out of hand. I’ve been reading free downloads from the Amazon/Nook/iBookstore with mixed results; I’ve quit midway through some, read others and enjoyed them, and shared some incredibly mean-spirited giggles at others. I even got a review copy of a really cool comic. It’s been the festival of reads and feels here, and I’ve been reviewing things both here and on Good Reads.
But I still haven’t been writing. It’s not from lack of desire or even lack of ideas; though I’ve been incubating thoughts like a motherfucker, I simply haven’t sat down to make it real. In 2013, I’ve written maybe 3000 words of fiction, which is a number I could do in a few hours if I really sat down and tried. I’ve got clear voices of specific characters in my head, and I’m torn between thinking this is genius or darkest madness. Voices in your head are supposed to be a bad thing, I’m told, but if they’re representative of fictional characters that have their own stories to tell does that still count as crazy?
Assuming I’m not insane, the problem is the loudest voices all come from different stories. I love them all; maybe they represent the best parts of me, or maybe they are all the things I wish I could be. They clamor and joke, vying for attention. How am I to choose which story I work on? Even the unsalvageable-seeming lost cause still grabs my attention–I love the characters and some of the scenes, but there’s just no story there, no action, no closure, nothing but meandering scenes in the lives of fake people. Do I work on the piece that’s closest to complete, my thanks-but-no-thanks Harper Voyager submission? Do I do some short stories and shelve the full-length projects a little while?
Writers, how do you choose what to work on when you’ve got several works in progress and they’re all asking for attention?