Confessions of a Story Slut

I bet the title caught your attention, didn’t it?  Ha ha, well, I live to amuse.  Or scare.  Anyway!

AS I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of writing, I find myself falling into an all-too-familiar trap…  That is, my wandering eye for a story.  It’s like I decide I’m going to write something, and the idea is a beauty.  I think, yes!  This will be my masterpiece!  My magnum opus!  The story I finally write that will put me on the map!

Then I write a bit of it, the energy wanes, and then, suddenly, a new idea walks in front of me, all shiny and undiscovered.  I have to have this new idea now! I think to myself, and before I know it I have left my previous endeavors cold and alone while I chase after the newer, better story.

I’m a no-good story slut, and I can’t figure out what to do about it.  I mean, I WANT to focus on one story!  I WANT to have one idea that I love, nurture and adore throughout all of its stages, till it is old and grey and FINISHED.  How do I keep my eye from wandering?  How do I stay faithful to one idea, one plot, and one set of characters, when all the while my brain is storming up new and unexplored adventures?

As you might be able to guess from the above, my story is coming along terribly, thank you very much.  Nanowrimo didn’t help me achieve much of anything–I’ve pretty much had to give it up, much to my disappointment, but I guess the idea that I would get anything written the November of my senior year of college was sort of a far-fetched one anyway.  I mean, I still love the idea, and I want to write more of it, I really do, but…  Well, like I said, I’ve been thinking of another story, and I feel like it’s taking all of my motivation.  When I even have time to sit down and write anything, I find myself taking notes for this new idea, and then I feel guilty for cheating on my old idea.

It’s a terrible cycle, and one I’m dreadfully familiar with.  I mean, besides short stories, I’ve never finished a full-length novel.  There’s a lot of reasons behind that, terrible as they probably are, but my apparent inability to commit is a big one.  I have so many story ideas that are one or two chapters in, and then abandoned littering my hard drive; it’s like  where my brain children go to languor in an unfinished holding bin for an indeterminable amount of time.  I think they’re ALL good ideas (although I mean I guess I would, wouldn’t I?) but I just get bored.

Maybe that’s it.  Maybe I just don’t have any ability to concentrate.  Maybe I have writing ADD.  Maybe I’m not the kind of person who’s supposed to write one book at a time–maybe I’m supposed to write several books all at once, just switching from one to another when I get bored.  That would be a good theory… Except that, instead of going back to old ideas, I just come up with new ones.

 

Has anyone else ever had this problem?  How did you break yourself of this dirty habit?  Should I just employ tough love on myself and chain myself to a chair or what?  Help!!

Celeste

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14 thoughts on “Confessions of a Story Slut

  1. I have this exact problem. I call them plot bunnies because they populate like…well, like bunnies. I don’t like to squash creativity so what I do is I ‘sketch’ a bit of the story out and then continue with whatever I’m working on. So far it works! Then when I’m ready to work on something new I go to my plot bunnies file and pull from there.

    In November I do NaNoWriMo and that gets rid of some of the plot pile, giving me a chance to work through some of the stories that ‘seem’ like a good idea. Sometimes they really are. Sometimes not 😉

    • I like that… Plot Bunnies. xD I know a friend of mine would definitely agree–she’s been listening to me try to write one thing and then come up with another for enough years, the analogy is probably quite apt. I must persevere! You sound like the system is working for you, so maybe I’ll do that. Not quite cut them out cold-turkey, but give them some love and then put them back into… what was that, the ‘plot bunny file’? xDD I’m definitely using that. 🙂

    • That’s true… And sometimes, when I’m NOT obsessing over a story, I come up with the best ideas for it out of the blue! So… Maybe that’s a good idea too? Oh man. xD So much conflicting advice! But I appreciate it all. 🙂 And I’ll definitely do that! Could always use something new to read.

  2. I did yes, I had that very disease. I had to go cold turkey on the shiny new idea and restrain myself or I wouldn’t have finished, and I did so desperately want to finish. Your senior year is busy enough with pressure coming out of every available exit point.

    • It definitely feels that way, ha ha! And yeah, that’s kind of what I figure… ;( Just give the Shiny New Idea (SNI, if you will) the cold shoulder until I finish what I’m working on atm. It’s tough love, but what can you do?
      Did you end up finishing your other idea? 😀

      • I did. I finally got to the end of it and now all those SNI’s are calling to me. “Write me, write me.”

      • Well that’s great! I’m glad it worked out for you anyway, ha ha. 🙂 I will have an absolute field day if I ever finished any big projects like that–and then, you know, blog about it, because that’s how it works. ;P But now you get to pick which idea to work on next! How fun! =D

  3. The summer before this one I was supposed to be working on Wanderlust, and so, as if to spite myself, I got about 60 pages into my secondary project (Silverfruit) instead. I understand what you mean, that sometimes it’s easier to work on something else, but I also don’t understand, because I’m obsessed with returning to old characters, even years later. I don’t know, I guess sometimes (last week, for instance) I despair of myself ever finishing my novel because I’ve set it aside for a number of days and some of the plot issues seem insurmountable, but each of these times I do go back eventually, and usually because the characters call me back. One doesn’t always prefer to discuss how close one feels to one’s characters, because it strays into cliché and obsessive writer territory, but it’s my inability to stay away from them that will allow me to finish my novel. Basically, when I find myself walking around the kitchen calling their names under my breath, it’s time to go back and see what I can do about that tricky chapter.

    For the writer ADD—would you consider jumping around scenes in the same story? Like, skipping to the end when you get bored with the beginning, instead of starting a whole new project? That way maybe it could feel like something new, but you’d still be adding wordcount to the one project. Also, don’t beat yourself up about the Nano thing. It’s your Senior Year of college, after all, and it’s totally okay to take longer than a month on the first draft of a novel.

    • Ha ha ha, thank you. x) I feel a bit better, because yeah, you’re right, I’m definitely not the first person with this problem. (And you’re definitely not the only one who wanders around with imaginary people acting out scenes in your head or anything.) That’s always a thought–I mean, I’ve never really thought of doing the scene-jumping thing before, just because I’m always so sure what comes later is dependent on what comes first, but isn’t that what the editing process is about? Making sure all the strings line up in the end? I just need to get it written, and then I’ll get to that fun (“”) next step of editing!
      Also, you’re not allowed to give up ever, because I want to read Wanderlust. 🙂 So there!

  4. I have had that same problem but, no, I have not found a solution. (A small graveyard of two- or three-chapter novels litters my hard-drive as well and sentiment will not allow me to simply bury them and move on.)

    Actually, the past tense is probably incorrect… I still have the problem but I have been able to finish a novel probably because the concept just consumed me to the exclusion of all the other shiny gee-gaws out there. I still had new ideas but either incorporated them into the novel or put them aside for now. (And that was hard to do!!)

    The editing phase is harder than the writing phase and I keep getting distracted and led astray. Guess the motivation has abandoned me – or maybe editing is just so boring!

    Good luck finding your own way out of the thicket. Maybe short fiction is your calling?

    • Well if you can finished something, then I have hope for myself. 😉 Thank you for your success story! I’ll worry about pushing myself to edit when I get to that point–heck, I welcome that point–but for now it’s one step at a time. x)

  5. Pingback: Well, Gee, Thank You! | The Official Site of Celeste DeWolfe

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