The Valley of Ideas

Um… I’ve been horrible about updating. I’m so sorry. I don’t really have an excuse, other than that my last post was well-received (thank you!) and I didn’t mind leaving it up as the front of my site, with nothing much new to add. That being said, if I want any slight chance of keeping this blog going, I have to keep updating.

But as far as where I’m at in my writing? Well, much the same.

I did manage to finish a project a few weeks ago, and I’ve been putting off editing it. Why? Well, partly because I think it’s necessary to let the project breathe, at least for a little while. When I go back to it, I want to be prepared to tear it apart, murder my darlings, and put all the work into rebuilding it. And… I still don’t feel ready. Even though the luxury of time is one I’ve long since given up.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to work on getting another project going… and struggling. This is par for the course, with me—it’s ‘feast or famine.’ Either I’m diving into an idea with an impossible amount of speed and enthusiasm… or I’m wandering in the desert, flickering from idea to idea with none to quench my thirst completely.

The problem isn’t that I don’t have ideas—it’s that I have too many, and possibly none of them are the right ones, because certainly none of them take off… And it’s impossible to know which idea is the ‘right’ one until… it is.

Twice now, I’ve spun and flitted through a multitude of ideas, only for one to finally land and get written. The fact that it has happened twice means it wasn’t a fluke the first time, which is good if I’m going to try and make a career of this… but the fact that I’m back to spinning means that it’s most likely the pattern my creativity is going to take. I don’t love that. But if it grants me, even infrequently and unpredictably, a chance to actually create, then I’ll take it.

Right now, I’m struggling between an idea I’ve worked on for a long time that has a lot of interesting elements, but a few major pitfalls that I keep shying away from… and an ‘idea’ that isn’t really a story at all but just something different from that other idea, that I think I would ‘like’ more. Should liking an idea matter that much—more than what interests you creatively? But what if you just think it interests you… what if it’s just the imagined response to it you want, and not your own? And… so on.

The problem with creative hypotheticals is that there are no subjective answers. No voice to come down from above and tell you that this idea is going to go all the way… or that it won’t. Definitely no way to tell what other people will think. The only process that has ever worked for me is endless trial and error, until something just clicks—and giving myself permission to fail, and be embarrassing, and write whatever I want.

So, for now, I’m going to just keep doing that.

And, oh yeah, editing… Right.

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About J. Sevick

Just write.
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