Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Recently, I've been thinking of all of these awesome story ideas and how I should work on X novel for Y submission guidelines, or I thought about Z idea, which would be great to break into. And then there is my '08 Nano novel, I.V., that I need to edit, which has been set on the back burner, and the sequel to that novel that has almost 58k words. It's felt like I'm ricocheting around on my projects instead of steadfast and focused.

Today I started reading an e-book called 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer (who has worked with Jenny Crusie on a few books as well as writing his own). I got it recently for free after signing up for Writer's Digest's e-newsletter (in the green sidebar on the left). The second mistake he mentions is Not Finishing (the first being, Not Starting, if you were wondering). Now, I have totally finished the first draft of I.V., and I'm making my way--however slowly--through revising it.

But as I mentioned before, I've been bouncing around like a chicken with my head cut off with all of the new ideas and opportunities that have shown themselves. It's interesting because I've been getting in my way more than really having an external distraction like TV or anything like that since I haven't been able to make my mind up on what to work on.

There were a few key pieces of advice that he said. One was that, if you don't finish the project you're not going to get a contract for the work. And two was to not move onto another project unless you finish your current work-in-progress. Yes, I know it sounds so simple, but for me, those words were very timely. I feel like it gave me a shot in the arm to get back to work on I.V. and give it my main focus.

How about everyone else? Are you having trouble focusing on one project (or however many you're juggling)? Or are you getting pulled in too many directions like I've been?

4 deadly screams:

Carrie from Wisconsin said...

Hi Sarah,

Another great blog!

I know what you mean about getting pulled in too many directions. Suggestion, if you have some really great ideas, do a little bit of work on them, just to get them out of your head. I have a place where all I have is a few lines and or paragraphs explaining the idea. Once I get it down on paper, I'm good to go to the next one.

Also, we can tend to reach a "burnout" phase, or at least I have on occasion. It doesn't mean that I am burnt out on writing or anything, just burned out on the topic/story and need a break.

If you feel like you're barely treading water, take some time so swim in the other direction for a little bit and then come back to it. That's what I do.

Sometimes recharging the soul will make the writing seem to go better.

But that's me. You could be totally different in that respect.


Margay said...

Hi, Sarah,
I am definitely feeling the pull myself -and it couldn't come at a worse time. I've had so much going on in my personal life with issues with my daughter (the special needs one) and her school (which included going to court yesterday) and my mother moving back to the town where I live. But, happily, both of those issues are resolved now so after I recover, I'll have more free time! It seems to me, though, that the more drama I have going on around me, the more ideas I have for stories, so it's really hard to concentrate on just one!

Sarah Mäkelä said...

Thanks for your comments, Carrie and Margay.

Wow, Margay, that's really something how you get more ideas during times of drama! I'm glad things are getting settled for you.

Margay said...

Yeah, I just hope the ideas still keep flowing!