Another Darla Dilemma – Wiley Wednesday

As a fledgling writer, I find myself with more questions than answers to share. I’ve decided that it’s not all bad if I can help someone else by bringing up the point, even if I have no resolution.

Today I’m curious about how many projects most writers have going at any one time. It’s entirely too tempting to love a story when it’s new and then let it flounder once the initial love affair has worn off.

In my heart of hearts I think it would be best to marry myself to one project and see it through to rough draft completion as opposed to playing the field. After all, it’s only fair to my characters, isn’t it?

What about you? How many incomplete stories do you have saved on your hard drive and, if you’re like me, even lying about in notebooks? Regardless, I wish you happy writing!

6 Replies to “Another Darla Dilemma – Wiley Wednesday”

  1. It's a good question, although not a surprising one in this case.

    An artist friend used to say paintings finished themselves if put aside for a while. That might not apply directly, but the concept of inserting some distance and getting a fresh perspective makes sense if done in moderation.

    I think the ideal number of projects would be a small, manageable group you can actually expect to work on, plus, perhaps, another group you put aside for the future. Having too many in limbo seems problematic. For the active projects, I don't think I could keep more than three or four sets of characters in my head at one time.

    Currently, I'm trying to meet three deadlines. Unfortunately, the number of days left is directly related to my interest in the stories, so I have to work on my least favorite piece first. The second is due two weeks after the first. My point here is that outside factors might drive the process.

  2. I currently have five WIP's including the two serials, and that's starting to feel like too many.

    I know *exactly* what you mean about the love affair with a story wearing off. Of course, for me it's often more the Critic coming on strong than the love of the story itself waning, although the net result is the same.

    I like having at least a couple stories to rotate between so that I can work on something that's not pushing my buttons too hard instead of beating my head up against one story so much I get frustrated. But I do feel like I'm more likely to finish if I don't have too many projects going on at once. There is almost always another story waiting in the wings for me to fall in love 🙂

  3. Good question! For me, it depends on your definition of WIP! I'm only "actively" working on two, at the moment. And by "actively" I mean I'm thinking about them and, if I end up writing, it'd most likely be one of those two stories.

    Off hand, I can think of a third one that I want to start working on during this break. I already have a few pages written from before, I just need to continue. At the same time, that story is essentially my magnum opus , so it isn't any surprise that it is stills around.

    I also know of one other story that I've started, want to finish but haven't really thought about much lately and don't see myself opening any time soon. There is a fourth one that I started several months ago that got hung up on the ending and haven't gotten around to fixing that, yet. I'm sure that if I really looked, I could find more in a similar state.

    I think the best answer is: however many the writer can stand. I think the more ADD an author is about writing, the more there are.

  4. I think it depends. But, my personal "The Universe According to Noony" answer:

    I don't care if I have a bazillion unfinished projects (in writing OR in knitting/fiber crafts). I do it because it is my life, it's like breathing: some breaths I breathe deeply and savor, others I pant, and still others are lucky to get out of my tense chest at all. If it gets me onto the page, great. Finishing is less important to me than telling a story and enjoying myself.

    That's not to say finishing doesn't have its place. But I've found that finishing has its own fears and issues, and that's one of the many reasons I work so much with the Artist's Way and her later tools. She gets into finishing things more deeply in Walking In This World, and I think those tools are very useful.

    But if I told you how many unfinished objects I have, you'd probably faint. It's at least three digits long, the list.

    But I write. And write some more. And that's what it's all about.



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