No Writing November: Writing Woes II
November, for me, usually involves the intense drive to finish a novel. This year I have no motivation even to open a word document. I tend to go through periods where I believe I can’t write and hate all of my characters. One solution I have is to completely start from scratch. I can start a new project.
My first thought always is that “I have all of these other projects; why can’t I just write one of them? ” My teachers in school would say, “Go with the story that is the strongest in your mind right now.” The problem with that for me is my mind jumps from story project to story project daily.
I feel lazy that I cannot seem to stick to the same project for an extended length of time. One day I might work on a contemporary romance one day and a fantasy project the next. I should accept this about myself and have three books every six months. Instead, I feel like it’s the wrong way to go about publishing a book.
I could do a steeplechase. A steeplechase is a writing exercise they had us complete during my undergraduate career. A steeplechase is a series of 12 steps. Each of the twelve steps required 2-3 pages that follow the directions of the steps. Some steps include focusing on just setting, changing to an unlikely point of view, imitating an author with a completely different style than your own. I love to go to an author of the opposite genre.
An example of this would be if I was writing a fantasy piece. I would switch to Raymond Chandler, the mystery writer. The end of the 12 steps leaves you with 24-36 random pages of your story. The idea is to read through all of the steps to see which is the most compelling, and that’s the style you are supposed to use to write the piece.
I find that it helps me figure out different aspects of my stories. It’s just somewhat daunting to get started.
Here is a blog post from a grad student named Chris Terry at my alma mater Columbia College Chicago that outlines the different steps to a steeplechase if you want to give it a try. Happy writing, and if you are stuck, you can always try again tomorrow.
Photo by geralt courtesy of Pixabay