Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Don't Know What to Write Next

I'm in that weird stage of writing where I've just finished one first draft and am returning to an older manuscript to whip it into final shape for a submission. After that, I can start working on the first draft revisions.

However, I belong to a critique group and we prefer to review new stuff and not rehash revised work, so I have four weeks to figure out what I want to write next and get a couple of chapters written.

For some folks, the problem is lack of ideas. A kind of limbo where the brain freezes and the writer can't think.

Although I sometimes have that kind of brain freeze about blogging posts, I don't experience it with fiction writing. I have lots of stories in my head, old unrevised manuscripts my critique group has never seen, and a file full of notes and new ideas.

I'm stuck because I don't know which one to choose.

So here are a few questions for those of you who write. Do you always know what you're going to work on next, or do you sometimes have trouble deciding on your next project? Do you take time off between books? Do you write something new at the same time you're revising an older manuscript?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I go months in between writing projects, so obviously it takes a bit for ideas to hit me. Blog posts - never an issue. Most of the time there's too much to explain and I must sum up.
Something will hit you!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Yes, probably like a slap up the side of my head when I least expect it. :D

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - I know what you mean. Sometimes, I do struggle with what I want to write next. For me, honestly, the idea that 'wins' is the one where I can most clearly see how the story's going to go if that makes sense. When I don't yet see where the story's going, that's my clue that the idea needs to 'cook' for a little longer.

Patricia Stoltey said...

A logical approach, Margot. The only trouble is, I write on the fly so I never know where any of my stories are going until I get there. I think this requires serious analysis. And a little procrastination. After all, I do have a couple of weeks to think about it. :D

Trisha F said...

I have this same problem - too many ideas and not enough time to write them all! :)

Sometimes I will have a plan for what to write next, and at the last minute a new idea will grab me and I'll go with that instead.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Trisha -- I'd like that. Something brand new that just jumps into my brain and takes over.

Julie Luek said...

I seem to be having a brain freeze problem lately, so having to choose is not the issue. I've been having to force myself to sit down and write a 1000 words a day, free
writing, just to keep the practice up.

Patricia Stoltey said...

You're writing 1,000 words a day? Wow! This spring and summer I was lucky if I wrote 1,000 words a week. In my humble opinion, you're doing fine, Julie.

Elle Carter Neal said...

I'm with Margot. I think of it as my stories "fermenting". I have several sitting in basic synopsis mode and sometimes one will bubble up to the surface of my brain and I will quite honestly see the words being typed in my head. In years past I would rush to the computer, or grab pen and paper, to get the words down, but now I've trained myself to hold them in my head. I've thought thousands of words while stuck under sleeping babies, and managed to process a scene hours... sometimes days later.

And then sometimes I leave it too long and I get vinegar ;-)