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How do YOU decide?

It seems to be the bane of a writer’s existence to be plagued with brilliant and shiny new ideas which distract them from their plans and goals. I don’t know of a single writer who hasn’t had this crop up, or many writers who have resisted each and every time its happened.

This time I’m torn between a novel I’ve already written, and ones that are still mostly in my head – kind of the opposite of the typical *new shiny* issue. I read through a bit of it yesterday and felt some serious ‘old novel’ love coming out of the woodwork.

It’s a hard thing to decide what to focus on. There is never a sure way to know which is the best choice long term in regards to whether a particular novel will find a home somewhere or not. So what do we have to go on?

Gut instinct? The novel that ‘calls to us’ the most? Sheer determination to finish what we started before we move on to something else? How do YOU decide which project should get the lions share of your time?

I’m still in that phase of thinking about writing a lot while not really having the time to DO much of it. I am flipping back and forth between different options, thinking about my shorts, and my novels, new ideas and things already written. I’m beginning to think that it’s time to rethink my answer to that all important question of ‘what is it you want from your writing?’, while at the same time knowing that right now I simply do not have the drive, motivation, or focus on writing to really answer it accurately.

Another part of me, I have to admit, feels like I should be working towards getting a novel ready to submit around the place. I know a lot of writers who have hit this spot, hell I’ve been here before too, and I don’t want to get to that place where I feel like I HAVE to have something finished – sure fire way to take the fun out of it all. But, I have to ask myself whether this novel I am thinking about is worth working on, or whether I’d do better to work on the new ideas. I’m going to take a read through it anyway and see what I think at the end – that is after all, the only way to know whether its really worth reworking or not.

So tell me folks, how do YOU decide whats worth working through til it’s submission ready?

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7 thoughts on “How do YOU decide?”

  1. “Another part of me, I have to admit, feels like I should be working towards getting a novel ready to submit around the place. I know a lot of writers who have hit this spot, hell I’ve been here before too, and I don’t want to get to that place where I feel like I HAVE to have something finished – sure fire way to take the fun out of it all.”

    Do NOT fall into this trap!! We write because we love it. Even if there was no path to publication, if all we did was write because it was fun we would still write.

    Maybe you could consider the themes/issues raised in the stories and pick to write a story that you are most passionate about providing the world a new take or view of that issue/theme.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Kerryn 🙂 I will not fall into that trap, I will always write because I love it – I love all parts of the process though so wanting to get something done to ‘finished’ is just another part of that.

  2. You got me. I finish a novel because I JUST HAVE TO FINISH THE STORY. It’s as if I am possessed or something.

    When you find the answer to this question, let me know!

  3. I find myself toying with an idea in my head – most of the time they branch into different streams. Once I find myself comfortable with one idea more than the others, I take the proverbial pen and go to town. Of course, along the way, I lose inspiration or I find that it turns out different than I had expected.

    It is always worth putting down your ideas, unfinished or not. There is always that sense of satisfaction at the end of it. I don’t ever ask if it is worth it or not, just as long as I enjoyed doing it!

    Hope that helps! 🙂

  4. Well, you know me and how much I often struggle with which story I should be attending to. This is something I’m definitely familiar with and I remember us talking about it. You told me to a) think about which I wanted to work on the most, and b) think about which one was the most important. I guess those are the questions you now have to ask yourself. The first question to ask yourself is, do you want to be editing right now, or do you want to be writing?

  5. One thing that often hits me when I’m writing is actually pretty simple – Am I enjoying the story I’m telling, the characters I’m fashioning, the conflict that I’m building up? If I’m not, then it becomes a matter of going back to square one, meaning either starting with something entirely new, or possibly going back to what I’ve been writing to see if there’s some place where I went off the rails. The way I figure it, if I’m frustrated or bored or unhappy with something that I’ve written, then it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to continue on that path.

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