Of course this was bound to happen.
I’ve been outlining decently for a rewrite of my old novel attempt, Fratricide. I’m tearing at the outline repeatedly, almost like a scab, because I’m not sure how to make the story talk about the things I want it to talk about. So, as I think about either dumping parts of the outline, revising what I have, or throwing out the half I don’t like and just writing because the first 25% is in place, the unthinkable happens:
I get an entirely different story idea.
What’s worse, this one actually seems good…I’ve finally found an angle on this whole dystopian thing I’ve been haphazardly writing around that resonates with me, and may actually not be boring. But…urgh. Hence the title of this post.
Since I’ve been quite young, I’ve had to maintain a degree of focus. I could only read one book at a time, lest the books get confusing and start to blur together. Schoolwork was demarcated by subject, and generally I ticked off one task at a time, in its entirety. The appearance of a second, equally valid writing idea is filling me with dread because I’m not good at balancing, and at the same time even worse with setting things aside.
So what’s the best way forward? Well, this may be a good time to get back to writing as a regular activity, something I do every day. Make a spreadsheet with my active projects, get my 500 (750?) words every day, and split it between whatever I want to write. I’m an engineer who thrives on organization, but not having the mental capacity to will myself to write scraps of ideas, count my gaming material, or just let things spread out has all contributed to making the act of writing feel harder than it needs to be.
I need to get organized. When I’m at work, there are deadlines and tasks and events that allow me to balance 2,3, sometimes 4 workstreams at once. While that technically means that I can do this with my personal writing, it also means that if I just go about it in my typical way it’s going to feel like a job…and if I’m trying to motivate myself to write daily for more than three weeks at a time, that just won’t do.
So yeah, let’s track things. I’m going to try my damndest to write something every day, and after a week we can see how much I wrote and what. Then I’ll make a decision about how to best make this work for me.