I hope I am not alone with this dilemma, but I have at least a dozen story ideas started on my computer that I’ve never found the time to finish… not mentioning the boxes of note books of similarly incomplete stories from my childhood and teens. Please tell me this is a common affliction for those who have been writing all their lives but sadly have to keep up with the ‘real jobs’ and so keep writing as a hobby?
It’s not that I never finish a story – far from it. I’ve finished a few! And not just the ones that have been published, or are about to be published. No, there’s a few novellas and poems and what not that are done and dusted, but seriously not worth much more than being used as blog fodder. Plus there were those years I wasted my writing time and talent on an online role playing game for Star Trek. What, you didn’t realise I would be a Trekkie too? *gasp* What is wrong with you? Have you not been keeping up with my blogs? 😉
And so, what do we do with these unfinished stories? Well, if you’re anything like me they’re never forgotten and I often start thinking about how to continue with say the boy who lives in the world of the dream warriors, or whether Jason and Quair ever stop being lost out in the wilderness. Or even, will Torascx ever get home after being stranded on earth with the weird but wonderful Dana to help him?
Oh, don’t worry, it’s okay if you have no idea what I am referring too, very few people do, but I’m sending a bug hug out to all those who can nod their heads and say ‘Yes, when are you going to finish that?’ As, yes, my friends and family who have been forced to read, or listen to me read, this work over the years have never forgotten them and often put in requests as to which story I should finish next.
But do I? Sometimes I open them up and have a bit of a tippy tap at them, but sadly the biggest reason I never finish them all is there is always a new one starting to form in my head. And, more often than not, that is the one I then plunge into. Thankfully they are also the ones I tend to finish these days as I have become so obsessed with actually getting the damned things out of my head and onto the paper.
So maybe the reason I haven’t finished the older stories is not because I can’t, but because I don’t want to. These characters, images and stories have been such a part of my imagination for so long that maybe removing them onto said paper will mean I leave great big holes I just can’t fill?
Nah, it would be too romantic to think that, right? Quite frankly I feel it’s more because I’m a bit of a slack tart. But mostly because there really isn’t enough time in my day to be a full time writer. If there was, if I really did have the chance to spend twelve hours of most days writing… more would get finished and more would depart. But hey, it’s not as if they wouldn’t be quickly replaced.
To be a full time writer, would that really do it? Not be a mum and a Haus Frau and an IT contractor (my current three full time jobs) and just sit and write and not have to worry about hordes, home or where the money is coming from for the next bill. Heck, I’d have a damned good go at making it happen, but I suffer terribly from procrastination and a sunny day with a garden bed that needs weeding, or a pile of ironing that is just going to sit there… they will always distract me and tempt me back to the real world. Still, weeding and ironing are fun for me as it’s a time my imagination gets my full attention and many a good story idea has come from that time well spent.
And so, yes, there will always be too many stories to write and not enough time to do it in. Though it would be nice – from time to time – to get out one of the older ones, get it dusted off and see if it’s still worth the effort. Though I do get annoyed, when rereading some of them, that some bugger has since taken one of my fabulous ideas and turned it into a story of their own. I mean, how rude is that? 😉
My advice to anyone in a similar situation, someone else that has too many stories and not enough time to finish any of them is: Don’t stress, some of mine have been in a holding pattern inside my head for years. They can wait! Focus on one, just the one, and write it. Finish it. Get it out of your head and onto that paper. Once it’s done you can get the rest of them to draw straws and choose the next one!
As the old saying goes – you can’t eat the elephant in a single bite. Take small nibbles and eventually it will all be gone. This is the attitude I take to my Haus Frauing when there is so much to do, and it’s the advice I’ve started taking to my writing – and it works!
So, go out there, nibble your elephant! Um, yeah, so I may not be the best at motivational speaking but I hope you get the gist anyhow.
Happy writing, until next time.