Thursday, July 4, 2013

Writing: The Hard Part

Writing...which tasks are the most difficult? Which are the easiest? I've been asked questions of that nature from time to time. Okay, I've been asked that many times. It's not an easy question, because frankly, much as I love writing, there are no easy parts. There are simply easier parts, and those will vary from writer to writer.

Some authors hate the blank page and the accusing blinking cursor (me), some hate editing (not me) and some really dislike the business aspects (I'm torn on that one. Promotion doesn't come naturally to me, but it does enable me to do some really fun stuff, such as writing/maintaining this blog. Come to think of it, even if I weren't a writer, I think I would try to keep up with the blog. I enjoy it that much).

And, of course, there's always the "coming up with new ideas must be really difficult" comments I get from people sometimes (okay, all writers get the "where do you get your ideas?" question). I totally understand why people ask that question. If you're not a person who spends every waking minute opening yourself to the universe and all the possible story ideas raining down upon you, coming up with an idea for a book would seem like a tough thing to do. It was very tough when I first began writing.

But these days, coming up with ideas isn't tough. In fact, it's just the opposite, and that brings me to one of the most difficult parts of writing (for me, that is). It's not coming up with an idea. It's deciding which idea I should choose right now. I recently went through an idea housecleaning period, gathering all the scraps of paper I had scribbled potential story ideas on over the years. I also printed out all the ideas I had stored on my computer and sorted through all of them. When I was done, even with all the silly ones I purged and even with multiple ideas on those pages, I ended up with a stack of paper a foot or more thick.

So I read through those hundreds and hundreds of ideas and for the past few weeks I've been dithering, unable to decide what to write next. I must have ideas for about 50 series and untold numbers of single titles. I have YA ideas, traditional romance ideas, paranormal and futuristic and historical ideas. Because that's how idea gathering works. The universe drops things into a writer's consciousness and she can't seem to let some of those ideas go, even if she's never written in that genre before. There are so many stories that call to me.

I've considered stuffing all those ideas into a box and simply drawing one out, leaving it all to chance. But I know I won't do that. To write a book well, an author needs to connect with the story on some basic level, to immerse herself in the book, to love the book, to merge with the characters. It has to be something she really, really wants to write.

The problem with me is that I want to write them all. So for me, choosing what to write is the most difficult part. I probably spend more time on the getting ready phase than I do on any other part of writing. I ponder ideas, consider characters, examine character motivations, research settings and occupations and...a hundred other things. I tiptoe up to ideas and try to imagine myself writing that book and what the difficulties and joys will be. It's a time consuming and often frustrating experience. Joyful and frightening at the same time.

Still, I've dithered long enough. It's time for me to stop dithering and just do it. Other authors will have their own most difficult parts. This one is mine, but I intend to conquer my fears and make a decision soon. Then it will be on to the next most difficult part: facing the blank page.

I hope you're all having a fantastic writing day (and that it's all smooth and easy sailing today). Enjoy!



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