March 1st, 2016

Five in Ten's TARDIS

An alternative to actually being productive

I've been wrestling a bit with writer's molasses, which is sort of like writer's block except that it's not really a hard stop: it's more like slogging very slowly forward. I have tons of WIPs - I counted seventeen with at least four paragraphs written last time, and that was quite a while back - but I'm not committed to finishing any of them. It's not that I don't have anything to write or that the words don't come. I'm just not motivated to work on any particular story from beginning to end. So, I end up adding a paragraph to this one here, and then a short scene to that one there, and nothing ever gets done. In the meantime, a new idea pops up and bam, another WIP is born.

I do have a couple of hard deadlines looming, the minor character fic-a-thon and the trope bingo that I signed up for, and I know I'll buckle down and get those done (they're both halfway done; for the trope bingo, I'm only writing one story so that I qualify to sign up for the next one), but I haven't yet done so. I've also listed a fic for April's Camp Nanowrimo, and I'm looking forward to concentrating on that one. It's been percolating in my brain for a while now.

It's been bugging me that I can't seem to concentrate and finish anything I've started. However, in the last week or so, I realized that I don't need to measure my success by how many fics I write or how often I post things. Like I said, I am actually writing, just not in any particular order. (Hm, kind of like how the Doctor lives his life. Ha.) Then, as I thought about this, I came up with an idea to make me feel better, more creative and productive.

You see, one of the things that's keeping me from concentrating on one fic and finishing it is that I have all these ideas in my head and different ones pop to the fore depending on my mood, the time of day, the alignment of Gallifrey with the Medusa Cascade, and whether the number of bags of tea in the cupboard is a happy number or not. I'll be driving to band rehearsal thinking about a scene, and then on the way home, I'll be thinking of a different one from a different story, and then when I get home and sit down, ready to type, a completely different one is on my mind, and I've lost all of the awesome ideas that had blossomed in the car. I've got all these things bubbling in my head, and none of it gets on the page.

But you know what works? Writing them down! Not caring at all about the overall story, or introducing the setting and characters correctly, or even that all the description is there. I created a document that's just non-interconnected scenes that hopefully one day I will cut from the doc and put into the story it's meant to go in but for now is just getting them down on paper. I find that when I write the scene, I spend some time getting down those ideas that randomly occur to me and working them through, and then the scene stops taking up brain space. Since it's been written down and thought about, it no longer rattles around in my skull. So far, I've done this with three scenes, and I feel less pressured to work on them, and I hope that eventually, I'll get to the point where the number of things I'm thinking about is manageable again, and I can start concentrating on finishing a whole story.

And I've definitely enjoyed actually writing something, even it's not complete and readable. So, success! I feel like I'm making progress again.