Monday, January 3, 2011

Waiting for the Next Idea...

It’s always hard to go to work on a Monday but after over a week away from work, celebrating the holidays and generally being rather lazy, it’s extremely hard.

It didn’t help that it was a very quiet day at work. It was one of those days where people aren’t returning phone calls, everyone is feeling sluggish and not much gets done, even if you have the best intentions.

For me, it felt a little torturous sitting at my desk when, just yesterday, I’d been finishing up a week off by reading, doing puzzles and playing with the pups.

Now it’s time to get busy again. In my case, this means starting to brainstorm ideas for a new novel. I finished my sequel to The Reluctant Demon just about two weeks ago and while I’m editing it, I want to start something new that isn’t quite so frivolous and silly.
That’s a hard thing as a writer, especially because I’m the kind of writer that I am. I’ve tried techniques before of coming up with ideas by diagramming stories, using notecards…all of the things you read about in writing books.

However, now I’ve written ten novels, I’ve learned that the only thing that works for me is for me to sit down and just…write. All I need is a glimmer of an idea and then to create a character who ‘speaks’ to me and thus, a novel is born.

I’m just waiting for that glimmer.

The problem is, I want my next novel to be good. This is not to say that my past efforts have not been good because I know most of them are, at least, very decent. I mean to say that I want the next book to be really good- the type of book that means something to people.

That’s a lot of pressure. I wonder if when some of the great writers of the past sat down to start a book, they intended their novel to be studied and read for generations to come.

Of course, I’m not sure that’s the type of good I’m looking for. Mostly, I want the type of good that, when I write, I can’t wait to get back to it, to see where my character is going to go and what will happen to him or her. My last books were fun. They were great ways for me to use my imagination and envision what a view of Hell would be like from someone who was only there to rescue her demon lover.

So, I’m beginning my New Year by trying to come up with new ideas. Now the holidays are behind us, it’s time to focus on the path ahead. For me, this means writing. This past year was my slowest as far as writing went. Usually I finish two books in a year or, at least, finish one and get another one halfway done. Last year, I only wrote one. Granted, I published one as well but as far as the writing process went, I allowed myself to be lazy and procrastinate. I could blame my procrastination on a number of things. For most of the year, I was in a job which I increasingly hated with each passing day. I finally did something about it in October. Now I have a job I enjoy that I find rewarding. I also adopted two puppies. They’re not as much puppies anymore as they are dogs. They just turned a year old on December 28th. I had to buy them dog biscuits as opposed to the puppy ones. That was hard because it was a concrete reminder of how things don’t stay the same.

I still think of them as puppies though. They still act like puppies and I have a feeling that, in my eyes, they’ll always be puppies. They’re more self-sufficient now than they were a few months ago but they’re still available for cuddles and love whenever I need it. At the moment, poor Rory has an ear infection so she’s needing a little more babying than usual.

Aside from puppies and work, my slump in writing can be blamed simply on me being trapped in my own head. I’m my own worst enemy- I get down on myself and start believing that I’m useless and a fraud. This year, I’m vowing to not let those thoughts overrule me. Instead, I’ll look at what I’ve accomplished and simply be happy that even if my wildest dreams have not and might not be met, it’s still ok to be happy with what I do and what I’ve done.
I suppose you could consider this a New Year’s resolution though I’m not so sure I want to call it that. It’s ok to make resolutions but I think that we shouldn’t use the New Year as an excuse to do so. Instead, we should make them when we realize we need to change regardless of the calendar date. Still, I can’t help but use the new year as a reason to try to improve. It’s a convenient starting point.

I’m excited to see what the New Year brings. Even if it does mean it’s time to get back to work.

Happy Tuesday!

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