Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Motivation - On False Starts

"Failure is success if we learn from it." ~ Malcolm S. Forbes

I did a Skype visit with some teen writers yesterday at Boise Public Library. One of the things I told them is that the first draft should be your playground. Writing a book is hard work. You have to figure out what will make you go back to the story again and again, and for me, it's thinking of that first draft as a place to play and have fun. Hard work can be fun? With the right attitude and with the RIGHT STORY, yes, I think it can be.

Did you catch that? It's not just about the right attitude. It's also about the right story.

Last week I started a new book. This weekend, I spent hours reading books for research, because I had to set the story in a different place and a very different time period. The more I read and the more I thought about this story, the less excited I became. Not a good sign. But more than that, I thought - do I *care* about this story? Do I want to spend hours and weeks and months telling THIS story?

And when the answer was no, I knew I needed to go back to my idea journal and find something else to write about.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and my mind instantly went there. My heart sunk as I thought about it. Because the truth is, I felt a bit like a failure. I started something and didn't see it through. Isn't that failing?

So mostly I'm writing this to tell myself - no, it's not. False starts happen all the time with writers, don't they? (Please tell me they happen to you!) It doesn't mean I failed. It means I learned that this particular story wasn't THE ONE for me. Fortunately, I figured it out fairly early. 

I don't know what the next story will be. I probably won't talk about it when I figure it out. Sometimes I think the more I say about it, the more difficult it is to write it, for some weird reason. Keeping it close is often what's best for me. I hope I figure out what it is soon, though. Because I love the playground!!

1 comment:

  1. oh thank you for sharing this. It hasn't happened to me yet--but then again, I am only working on my first project--but I am sure it will one day. Thanks for sharing so I know, in advance, that I am not a failure . . . and not alone!

    Have a wonderful weekend