One eye on the clock…

Sleep has been an elusive little bastard lately.

Though that detail seems a little irrelevant at this moment. I started writing this in the middle of the night, but now I’m editing it in the middle of the afternoon. Because I am efficient like that.

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve started and deleted this post in the last twenty-four hours. (More like forty-eight at this point.) In part because I’ve been in a foul mood and everything just comes out as a bunch of bitching and whining. In part because I don’t have any real clear idea of what I even want to write about. I just feel like I need to write something here, so I keep hacking and slashing at this draft, hoping something worth saving* will manifest on the screen.

I average about one post a month around these parts.

I used to write more.

Sometimes I still do.

It’s certainly not for lack of trying. I open up blank drafts (or existing ones) all the time. But I generally stare at the blinking cursor for an indeterminate amount of time, before closing it out and return to tabbing between Twitter and Word.

I suppose if all else fails, I could easily ramble on for a few hundred (or thousand) words about whatever story project I’ve been beating myself about the head over. There’s no shortage of commentary in that department. But the true challenge with that idea, is writing something that actually makes sense. My thought process when working through ideas (and their multitude of details and problems) is so disjointed. When I write about it here, I put a hell of a lot of effort into making sure it makes sense, so when I come back to it somewhere down the line (because I always do) I have at least some idea of what the hell I was talking about.

My biggest issue tends to be that everything sounds so damn cryptic, even though it isn’t meant to be. Like I’m protecting my ideas from getting spoiled or stolen, so I have to be super careful about what I say. I have no intentions or delusions of publishing this stuff I’m writing, so keeping details under lock and key isn’t a high priority concern at this point. I just want to finish something for me. Bonus points if I don’t absolutely hate it.

But really, there are only so many posts I can spit out in a row of incessant babbling about stories before even I’m just JFC SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY.

I annoy myself.

I haven’t made much progress on any one story as of late. I’ve been jabbing at a lot of different ones, and maybe if I combined all that I’ve written into one place, it would add up to a lot, but on a single project? Not so much. I keep revisiting the same ideas, trying to figure out what the block is preventing progress. A lot of it is lack of a proper timeline. Narrative is always a bitch. And some are just vacant in the overall plot department. I’ve designed half a dozen floor plans in the past couple weeks, but the stories they’re intended for have barely moved.

And then there’s the ever-helpful** BASIL and his relentless WHATIF campaign.

What if you combined these two lackluster ideas to make one much more interesting story? Wait–wait, what if you added in this third plotline? Hold on, what if you took that one idea and wedged it into this story that’s super boring? You’d have to pretty much rewrite everything you have written, but it could work. Hey, this story doesn’t have Tyler in it. We need to shoehorn him in there somewhere. Let’s take this story from ten years ago and update it with a complete cast overhaul and major plot changes and Tyler. Wait—hear me out—what if…

STAAAHP.

Though I am considering one of those. Taking an idea that falls a little short on its own and combining it with one that’s far too boring—even for me—and potentially making something else entirely. It would require a hell of a lot of rewrites to make it work. It would change A LOT with the dynamic of the characters. (It already has Tyler, but it would add some pieces to his story that are currently lacking.)

I just don’t know if it’s actually a feasible idea, or if I’m just grasping at straws on a story that really isn’t salvageable. I’m not ready to let it roll over and die just yet. I’m convinced there is a way to fix it. I just don’t know if THIS is it. It would really change a lot with the dynamic of the characters, and I don’t know if I actually like what those changes would be.

Worst case scenario, I try making the changes and it’s a colossal failure. But then I would know, instead of constantly wondering about Basil’s latest whatif, and not getting any writing done because I’m too distracted by that one thing.

If I take my time figuring out what needs to be changed with the existing material, it could work. The story as is, is lacking conflict. This would add some. But I don’t know if it would feel like it’s a natural part of the story, or if it would feel like I just crammed it in there as an afterthought just to make conflict where there really is none. I could be just making everything far more convoluted than it needs to be.

Which…is really every story I’ve ever written.

Oof.

 

* I stared at that line for far too long, thinking it seemed weird, until I finally realized that it’s the title of Gavin DeGraw’s latest album. Despite my penchant for using song lyrics as post titles, that was completely unintentional.

** Not at all helpful. Seriously. Not at all.

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