June 24th, 2011

I started a new book a couple of weeks ago. It’s taken me a while to get to the writing part since I’ve been doing a lot of charting out, character development, etc. I’ve written twenty-five pages and have probably another twenty-five charted out, so it shouldn’t take long to write them. I think the story is strong. I like the characters and the overall series idea, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m working on the ‘wrong’ thing. Let me explain…or at least try to. My plan from the beginning of this year was to try to get as much new material together as I possibly could before I approached New York publishing again. It’s why I wrote a YA at the end of last year. It’s also why I put a list together of potential projects. That list included at least one more YA, an urban fantasy, and an urban fantasy romance. I put the latter on the list because I knew it was something I could write without difficulty. By that I don’t mean that the book would be ‘easy’ to write per se, more that it was a genre that I’m familiar with and wouldn’t have any challenges writing. If that makes sense.

Every writer has areas that challenge them. It may be specific POV’s or specific genres or craft issues. I’ve been slowly working on building my craft. Still have a long way to go. To be honest, I won’t ever be done learning how to make my work better. No writer will be, if they’re honest with themselves. A lot of times writers will avoid those areas that challenge them. It’s human nature to stick to your comfort zone and frankly, it’s easier. Twenty-five pages into my current book, I realized that’s what I was doing. I was sticking to my comfort zone, using it as security blanket because I’ve been afraid to face the work that truly scares me, the work that I’m not at all sure I can write. The whole situation has been rather sobering. I find myself at a crossroads. Do I continue on and finish the book that lies smack in the middle of my comfort zone or do I finish the partial and move onto one of the many projects that scare me? The decision is not nearly as easy as you might think.

6 comments to “Start…Stop…Start…Stop”

  1. It depends on if it’s a comfort zone or you really like writing what you’re writing. If you love the story along with the method then that’s not a comfort zone. That’s working at what you care about. It’ll sure make the editing process easier. 🙂

  2. Bernard, I’m sure it’s a bit of both, but I do know that I chose it because it was a safe bet, a safety net if you will. The other stories are well and truly out of my comfort zone. I like this particular story and the characters. I’m trying my best to make it something I’d really like to write.

  3. I think it’s hard to ignore something when it’s pushing you. In a way, it’s like the wife (comfort) and the mistress (out of the zone). The trick is to figure out if the mistress is leading you on, or if she has something of substance to offer. I think from what you’re writing in your post, she’s got a secret to share. I’d give her a spin, maybe write out 25 pages or so and see what happens. What’s in the comfort zone can have excitement too, but it’s of a different kind I think. Tough call.

  4. Ursula, I think you’re right about her having a secret. As soon as I finish the last eight pages on my partial, then I plan to do just that. 🙂

  5. This is actually the first post that stopped me on your blog. I’ve been dealing with this exact feeling for over a year and I decided to plow ahead with something different and it has been uncomfortable and I have doubted a lot, but it’s been worth it. I’ve gotten a lot of good work and good experience out of it. As long as you have a good support system, which it seems you do, I encourage striking out–but you already said you would. 🙂 That’s awesome.

  6. Lisa, Striking out in a new direction is truly terrifying. I think a lot of writers are in this boat at present. That’s why I truly believe now more than ever is the time to write whatever you want, what you fear most, what will raise you to a different place in this life.