I struggle a lot with indecision, it is probably the one thing that holds me back as a writer right now.
Allow me to explain.
I am unknown, my credits are on the slim side and I have no deals in place for the things I write. This means that I can write whatever I want, whenever I want.
The problem with this is that I can write whatever I want, whenever I want.
I am constantly generating concepts and story ideas. I have a file called “Stuff I Should Be Writing”. Originally it was half a page with titles and notes about stories. It is now 5 pages long and some of the details are very specific.
But I still don’t know which one I should write. I chose one, start to think about it and then I get another idea and because this one is new and shiny, it takes precedence until it too is eclipsed by something newer or an old idea that has grown while I’ve been away from it.
The real problem for me is too much choice. Whenever I get a firm deadline, I can work to it. Annoyingly, I keep finding anthologies and realising I have no ideas that fit their guidelines. Then there are the other anthologies that have guidelines so wide open I am back struggling to pick which story to write.
I imagine a few other people have a similar problem as this, but I suspect very few of the writers I know that have books or agents struggle with it like I do. They at least have editors and agents to help point them in the right direction. So I’m hopeful that a decent amount of publication credits under my belt might start to get me more decisive about what I should write.
Let’s be clear about this, I’m not talking about being indecisive as to what narrative direction a story should take, I’m purely talking about what story I should actually be writing at any time.
To give an illustration, I came up with the idea for this blog post back in November. I have since ummed and ahhed over whether it was worth putting up ever since. Once I wrote the last post promising that I would write this, all that fell away. And now it’s done I hope to be a little more regular on posting here.
What do I do about this? Honestly, I don’t know. I have two partially finished novels, one of which has a provisional promise of at least getting a reading at a publisher. But then I’ve come up with ideas that more take my fancy right now. So what should I do? Go back to the slog of something that doesn’t fire my interest as it once did because of a provisional agreement? Or should I move on with the new idea that really sets me alight right now? Perhaps I should finish that other one which I haven’t fallen out of love with, but it’s got a few issues that need resolving.
I don’t know. I never know.
Here’s to a more decisive 2012 and at least one finished novel and hopefully a few more short stories.