As a writer, it’s easy to have too many ideas in your head to get all out onto paper. And it’s something the vast majority of us are guilty of. Drafts are scattered all throughout our computers and in journals or loose papers in our homes, cars, offices, etc. But sometimes, we come across an idea that makes us want to follow through.
For me, I can start a story, create an outline–complete with character sketches–but finishing the story remains a challenge. Sure, I’ve completed short stories and poems for school, but that was for a grade, and a big necessity. But without that pressure, it’s virtually impossible for me. I feel like there’s just too much going on in my head or in my life to concentrate on one thing for more than a few days.
But the beauty in this is that when I revisit past thoughts, I’m reminded of where I was in my life when I was working on specific pieces. Just recently I came across a story I was working on in high school. I thought I was a big-shot writer back then, and while I was good, when I read my work now, it’s hard not to notice every error.
I keep thinking to myself, “I need to expand here, more detail here, cut this out, add more drama here, research more fighting styles,” and then I just give up and laugh.
I’ve always been one of those writers who have to fight the urge to edit as I write. I feel like it needs to be perfect the first time around or it’s pointless. And, yes. I know that isn’t how it works in the real life. Because I’m an editor in my line of work, that instinct is hardwired and almost impossible to ignore. But I’m trying.
Getting back to the story I found, I do have to say that I’m impressed with my past self. It was one of the most in-depth pieces I’d written until that point, and it was all hand-written in the smallest print I could manage. Almost 150 pages worth of writing. It was back when vampires and witches and all things supernatural was just starting to get big, and I thought, “Well, here’s my get rich quick attempt.” But there have been too many other authors who have gone that route, and I’ve completely changed my thinking.
Now, instead of focusing on what’s popular, I’m focusing on what I like to write and read. And if that bubbles over into the supernatural, I want to be able to be like the authors I look up to in this genre. I want to create a tale that’s unique but still keeps to the tradition and myths of the creatures I may write about.