Fog, Flitting and Fermenting

One of the advantages to not being a mainstream published author yet is that I have no expectations to meet except those I put on myself. No deadlines, no commissioned work, no genre I’m expected to write in or series I need to complete. I can experiment and dip in and out of work as I feel fit. I can wait for the Muse to descend.

Except that being a naturally disorganised person, this tends to leave me fumbling around blindly rather than flowing freely as I’d like to imagine. I flit from one idea to another and when I go through a patch (as I am at the minute) where I have several ideas jostling for attention I panic and let a sort of fog cover the mess in my head. That way I can have the satisfaction of knowing I do have lots of ideas but not actually the mess they’re creating by fighting amongst themselves. Oh, and it means I get virtually no decent writing done. Simply because I’m flitting around the edges of the fog and not getting stuck in.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, as I said I have no external expectations to meet. The only person I’m letting down is myself really. But then every now and then I feel irritated with myself and my lack of progress. I’ll either feel confident in my work, a surge of belief in myself that I really can do this if I just stop faffing around and get on, or I feel completely intimidated by my lovely writerly friends who really are getting on with it and having much-deserved success. When that happens I tell myself I can’t be a real writer because if I was I’d be, y’know, writing. What I really need to do is clear the fog.

I had one of those sessions this morning. As simple as getting a notebook and writing down everything that’s bubbling away in my head, then sorting it into current projects, projects to be shelved for now, and projects that are fermenting. I love the fermenting process. It’s how I distinguish between a flash of genius that actually can’t go anywhere and something that I could really do something with. I get the idea, write a quick note to get it down before I forget, and mentally file it. Then as different sparks appear over the few weeks I write those down too and hopefully I get enough to start thinking about characters and plot. I usually start with a character, and maybe a setting then the plot starts to appear. Then I leave the whole thing, don’t touch it as I have other things to work on but as it’s not ‘put away’ it continues to tick away in the background. I’ve got one fermenting at the minute that I love.

The really funny thing? The fermenting idea is always The One. The one I’m going to finish, adore and get a six-figure advance for. You never know.

9 thoughts on “Fog, Flitting and Fermenting”

  1. Go. And. Start. Using. THINGS!!!

    It is designed for messed up heads like thine and mine.

    Great post again btw xxx

  2. I like your writing process. Earlier tonight I was in a discussion about the pressures writers place on themselves, now you mention this in your blog!

  3. Thank you! I need to put that pressure on myself, otherwise I won’t get a thing done! 😉 I just need to make sure I’m putting it on the right projects.

  4. That is so much like me! I’m overflown with ideas and I love them all but I can’t possibly write all of them. So I start this and then I stop midway because I fall in love with the next one… I’ve found recently that writing flash fiction and short stories are excellent way to get them out of my system – and the ones that stick or the characters that return, they’ll be the ones I need to devote more time to.
    Great to have found you throught the hashtag! 🙂
    – andrea

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