PLEASE STOP, MR. MUSE
By Natalie Bright
Sparks on sticky notes, piles of articles, spirals full of handwritten chapters, lists of historical topics to research – all potential stories. I’ve got to get this mess organized.
My mind is in overload mode, because I love writing so much that I am now attuned to every idea that pops into my head, and ideas are coming from everywhere. I used to worry that I’d never have enough ideas to stay busy. I gave up television, scrapbooking, and cross-stitch for this?
I’m not sure when the voices inside my head got so loud, but it happened. I can’t shut them up, and I don’t want to. My problem now; no self-discipline. I like every minute of the process from first draft, research, to final edits, and then planning book events. It’s all fun. I even like co-writing, with four projects in the works. Two more rescue animal stories coming in November, plus two more new projects next year.
Wait a minute. Let’s take a more professional view of my process. Let’s take the heart out of the creativity. The truth is I would have fired me years ago.
My middle grade historical, HANGIN’ DAY, was six years in the making through the traditional route. It was agented but never sold. Six. Years. No other industry has that kind of turnaround time. I’m taking serious disciplinary action against myself, and the key to success is to Stay. On. Task.
Here’s My New Plan:
- New ideas get a page in the idea journal. Nothing more. Jot a few notes, but always return to the WIP.
- Working titles and self-imposed deadlines are posted on a whiteboard. Stick with the schedule.
- Which idea burns the brightest fire in my gut, and does it have potential? List those sparks on the whiteboard, with a designated start date and possible pub date. What needs my attention NOW? And then, what’s next?
- Apply myself to learning more tools of the trade. Scrivener has really made a difference for me this past year. Next up: formatting.
How do you stay on task?
In the meantime, our group project is progressing. You’re going to really enjoy these Route 66 stories.
Finish your book! The world needs your story.