Janus

As janus rostrum okretu ciach

Image via Wikipedia

I think it’s fitting that I’m born in the month named for the god of beginnings.

I love change.  I love new ideas, new initiatives.  Which is great when I see that I need to formulate new action plans to get to my desired results.  Not so great when I know the course direction is straight ahead, and the pace is slow and steady.

I’ve been working on my current Work in Progress for some time now.  It was my NaNoWriMo story, and though I’ve only been shaping it since November, I’d been thinking about it for some months before that.  I even thought that I could write one story before November, and write another one for NaNoWriMo.  Easy, breezy.

So, in September, I did attempt to write this story.  And then, 10,000 words later I stopped, feeling too discouraged to continue.

Then, I decided to re-plot this story.

Again.

And, again.

Each time I had a different history.  Different characters.  Different worlds. Different story.

Then, October rolled around, and I decided to plan out my story, scene by scene because this time, I was not only going to start a novel, but also finish one.

And I did.  And I’m happy.  Believe me.

But I’m also tired of it.  I admit it.  I have other random story ideas that I’ve dutifully written down, and have neglected in favor of writing and finishing this one.  I’ve kept my head down, and continued scribbling on the Hot Mess, though the want for something new and shiny is always there, clamoring for attention just outside my consciousness.  (I hear the waves breaking against the shore from the setting of another story as I type this blog.)

I know that I need to continue to do what I know was successful, in order to sustain the change that I want to make in my life.  I need to look behind, to what has passed, for perspective, so that I can look ahead and press on down my path.

But Tell Me: Would pursuing some of those bright, shiny story ideas be such a bad thing at this point? What would YOU do?

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12 thoughts on “Janus

  1. Merrilee says:

    If the first draft is complete, I would absolutely put it away and complete another novel. Then in 3 months or so when you come back to this one you will (a) have some significant distance, and (b) have improved markedly from dealing with the writing challenges of a different story.

    A lot of writers get caught up in working a story over and over, when the real learning comes from writing another story, and another. Each one improves your ability, and then when you come back to revise, the mistakes and mess is a little easier to interpret 🙂

    • Liza Kane says:

      Thank you so much, Merrilee! I think that’s what I’ve wanted to do, but I hadn’t given myself permission to do it because I didn’t want my motives to come from a lack of discipline on my part. To look at it from a learning and growing point of view, not only makes me feel less like a useless lazy person, but gives me the energy to create more action plans for “next steps”. Thanks again!

      • Merrilee says:

        You’re welcome 🙂 So tell us about the new project!

        It’s only lack of discipline if you become one of those writers who never completes. Getting to ‘The End’ is the biggest step.

        • Liza Kane says:

          The new project was actually an older project, one of my first story ideas actually that I didn’t quite have the “stuff” to write: you know, not enough courage or conviction or whatever the feeling is when I felt like I was not good enough to write the story. Funny thing: since then, this other story idea became so very prominent that I’m following through on it. Inspired by a frustrating morning I had with my dead car battery and a bleak winter landscape, it’s set in a post apocalyptic future. I’m not sure what the rest of the story is, since I’m still following what the main character is doing, but some genetic abnormalities are present in this world. Can’t wait to see where this is heading.

  2. Annie says:

    Oh, boy. I have some painful direct experience on this one. There is a fine line between giving up on an MS too soon and putting it away before the dudes in white haul you away. Only you know where that line is. I think for me it came when I realized I had made every mistake conceiveable in my first MS, and there was no way I could tell that story without completely re-writing the entire thing.

    AFTER TWO YEARS OF EDITS/REVISION. It was ridiculous.

    I will probably pick it up again someday and get it working right. There were positives about it. But if you feel like you could start a new project and do it better with what you’ve learned on the first, don’t feel bad about putting aside that first MS. Consider it a stepping stone, a critical part of the foundation you need to be on the road to published.

    • Liza Kane says:

      Yes, I do enjoy the challenge of creating a new world, and I am very conscious about the fact that this story may not be the one that will get me published. BUT I do know that with every step that I take toward my goal, I learn something new about myself, and am constantly pushing the limits of my endurance/strength/stamina in my jigsaw puzzle of a WIP. And, hey! I’ve not finished a novel before, so that’s a great milestone for me! My next step will be to plot out some story ideas while tinkering with the WIP…to you know, keep me sane. 😉
      Thanks for visiting and sharing Annie!

  3. J.C says:

    I think sometimes we need to delve into other worlds, other stories, in order to refill our tanks to continue on the big WIP. Only you are able to make that call though – have you thought about why you are tired of it? Is it the story? The fact you’ve been working on this one thing for so long now? Sometimes a little space and distance allows us to fall in love with something all over again and get back to work. Sometimes it shows us that the old wip is one that is something we might need to let slide.
    Your call – looking forward to hearing what you decide to do! I know for sure though that it is hard work to carry on with something when you hit the tired point. If it were me, I’d play with something else, if only to see whether it could re-inspire me with the WIP.
    I’m rambling and probably not making much sense… sorry! Good luck 🙂

    • Liza Kane says:

      Yes, Cassie, I think it is just the fact that I’ve been with it for so long. I don’t think it’s beyond repair; I just know that I’m facing massive rewrites, and I think just the thought of all that work puts me off to it.
      But then I think of my current house and how 3 years ago it needed to be almost completely gutted (it was a bank owned property, and was left to degrade for over a year). Honestly, we looked at the amount of work that we knew needed to be done (not including the work that we saw along the way, including rebuilding a porch and half of a roof because a tree fell into our house), and for a minute, allowed ourselves to be overwhelmed. But, we broke the whole plan down into steps, and bit by bit, room by room, my husband practically rebuilt the house to a better condition than when we found it.
      At the end of the day, nothing gets done if I just look at it and whine about it. I guess I just needed time to process it all and break it down so that I have a new game plan. One that includes me scribbling about a new story, and letting my subconscious deal with my current WIP for a bit.
      PS:
      I never mind rambles…look at mine for crying out loud: it could be its own blog post! 😉

  4. Deborah Burns says:

    Umm… I would (and have) moved onto to shiny new idea while continuing with current WIP. Does it work? Not really. Now I just have two+ partially finished WIPs. However, I do like being able to bounce back and forth when I get stuck. I like thinking about all the different characters with all the different possibilities. And I find that I’m learning things via the additional WIP that I can go back and apply to the first. Some might have problems keeping the characters and voice different… but I haven’t. I think you just have to do what works. If taking a break to work on a new idea will help renew you to finish/improve the first, what is the harm?

    Then again… this is coming from the girl who a) has not finished a single MS and b) has not finished a single MS. Hehe.

    • Liza Kane says:

      I like that Debbie, and something that I will actually do. I think the forward motion will help feed progress for my current WIP. I like the ability to play and experiment anyway. I’ve never finished a novel before, so am new to the whole revise-but-wait-I-have-a-shiny-idea-here feeling.
      Thanks for sharing!

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