Saturday, January 10, 2015

Playing Whack-a-Mole

Writing spec fiction is like playing one of those carnival games where the little gopher heads randomly pop up only to snap away when you try to hit them. Worse, when between projects, there seems to be an endless supply of moles to whack.

Case in point: No sooner than my latest submission hit the mail than a crying need to choose the next draft rose to the fore, releasing all the self-doubt and fears that I spoke about in Demons back in September 2011.  Before I could open any of the five short story drafts that needed attention --not to mention the damn long Plotland novel still awaiting a bit of polish (i.e. finishing the damn thing!)-- I  had to jot down a couple of ideas that had popped into head as the printer was doing its little dance, always on the edge of disaster, quitting at awkward places, and running out of paper midway, making me realize that procrastination had prevented me from taking the trouble to buy another ream or two.*

Also, my writers group meets only  week from now and I have nothing I'm willing to present. This forces a decision: Do I grab one of the shorter pieces to work on or hit the top unfinished draft?  There's only a week and we'll have company at the house for two of them, not to mention a few football games.  The need for  decision is itself paralyzing.  What to do? What to do?  Whack the first mole that pops up or wait for one particular one to present itself. Maybe I should try something new to kickstart the process.  Yeah, like that's really worked in the past!

And while I dither time is passing  at a hundred words an hour.  While I debate each choice I lose another page or two of production.  Make a decision, for God's sake, my muse all but screams.  Pick SOMETHING and just finish it!  It doesn't HAVE to be good enough...

Right, as if that's going to happen.

*Having printing paper close to hand seems unnecessary in the era of e-submissions.


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