Where to start? What to write? Do I work on the next chapter of my novel, sadly neglected over the last few weeks as I focus on setting up this site and finishing some short stories? Do I work on Turn, Ugly Truth – part 2? Do I begin the new story that has begun to float around my head and distract me? Or do I take a break from all this pondering and watch Netflix?
These might look like easy decisions. They really have no importance to anyone but me and would seem trivial and insignificant to anyone reading this. But this is the constant struggle of the writer. Writing is a solitary art most of the time. It is me and the computer or notebook. Writing is also introspective as an activity. Whilst I could sit and writer a description of the world as it revolves around me, I am really writing an interpretation of that world filtered through my own mind.
And the mind is the engine for all writers, no matter the type of writing they do. Even factual writing takes mind energy to express those facts in a way that is interesting to the reader and enhances the narrative.
As a fiction writer, my mind is a self-fueling engine of my stories, and as such I spend a lot of time in there, hunting around amongst the ideas for something I could use, something that could enhance my story, or something to seed a new one. As I watch the world revolve around me it’s as though I am viewing it through a veil, or on a screen, separate from me and being analysed, picked apart and scavenged for story fodder.
So when I am feeling overwhelmed by the ideas frothing inside my head, I can find it hard to focus on just one thing. Making lists helps, saving some ideas for another time. But it’s also about the energy behind an idea. An idea brewing in my mind today might be full of energy and captivate me immediately. But if I wrote this idea down and came back to it later, it might seem flat and dead and provide no impetus for me to follow it. Thus the things that should be done (the next chapter of my novel) often get relegated to the list while the things that are new and exciting (the idea for a story distracting me) get all the attention.
I know, it’s not fair to the poor novel sitting patiently in the background as the Jan Brady of the literary tasks, given some attention but never the star of the episode. I just keep promising it that one day, when it’s finished, it will be it’s own star and will no longer be ignored.
So what’s new on Netflix….?