Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lost

Okay, I will admit up front that I have not done my 5000 words for this week. I do have an excuse though.

You see, I've been lost - lost for quite some time actually.



It's not like I got lost on purpose. In fact, for the longest time, I was sure of where I was going. 

I had been playing around with this idea for a project - a collection of interconnected short horror stories set in a rural Indiana county - for nearly a year. I would start the work, then stop it, then hate it and delete it. Then start from a new angle, then stop again, rinse and repeat. 

This is the story of my writing career. I am a perfectionist and my own worst critic. The finished short stories and whatnot you see posted to this blog are only a fraction of my output, brave survivors of mass literary genocide. Untold amounts of notebook paper have been crumpled and trashed, countless files have been scrubbed from their electronic existence by my hand, it's something I'm sure most writers are familiar with but for me, it seems to be especially debilitating. After more than eight years of "serious" writing, I have yet to come anywhere close to completing a longer work or anything publishable.

It has taken until this week though, for me to really realize that I'm not getting anywhere with this particular project. Whether it's because I'm not interested enough in it to see it through or it just isn't that great of an idea, for whatever reason it really feels like I'm going nowhere fast. Something needs to change.

Writing The Sun-Polished Dome last week was a great experience for me. The words came fast and easy, and the story itself was pulled from the world of a much earlier work of mine (first imagined when I was 16). And ever since writing it, a strong desire to return to that world, to build on it, has been growing inside me. 

So, I am lost.

On the one hand, starting an entirely new project may just the jump start my brain needs to actually get it into gear and start producing work. However, this work would also be far more ambitious than anything I have done before, being set in an entirely fictional universe that needs to be fully fleshed out before I can even begin writing. On the other hand, I have already sunk a great deal of effort, written and unwritten, into plot-planning and world-building for the short story collection - and I would hate to leave that all behind, even if it the ideas have begun to grow stagnant. 

Even now, I'm not entirely sure which path I want to choose. And don't think the idea of working on both simultaneously hasn't crossed my mind...


Note: I actually did make some progress with that horror project that has yet to be scrapped. County Line Crash and Waking Time were both intended to be parts of this larger work and may still be in the future.