Friday, July 19, 2013

Start something, stick with it, finish it … or start something new

Last Saturday I spoke on a YA panel with Lisa Forrest and Rebecca James at the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival. It was a fun, relaxed session and I enjoyed the company of Lisa and Rebecca immensely. 

During the session Lisa gave an aspiring young writer some sage advice about writing. It went something like this: Read lots. Write lots. Start something. Stick with it. Finish it. Nothing startling, but well stated in a way that was easy to remember. And it provided a timely reminder for me.

So after my stern talking to self on Sunday, I started the week with a new resolve. I was going to get back to my YA WIP; I was going to stick with it and finish it. No matter how long it took.

I started out by reading through what I had written thus far (about 3000 words), poring over the pages and pages of character notes and ideas, trying to get back into the heads of Shay and Riley. There was some surprisingly good stuff here, much of which I had forgotten about. But I knew I had a lot more “thinking” to do, and that I needed to go slowly, think deeply about my characters and take the time to get to know them properly. It was going to be a long process. But I was excited. That was Monday.

On Tuesday I woke thinking about a junior fiction idea I had years ago. A comic adventure idea that was very character driven and filled with much silliness. Ideas were zipping around my head, and I had to get out my notebook to take them down before I forgot them. And before I knew it I was scribbling scenes and working out plot ideas.

So after only one day into my resolve, I have started something new. But I am positively buzzing, the voices of my characters chattering away endlessly in my subconscious. Is this just classic avoidance behaviour? Am I just putting off delving back into my YA because I know that it is going to be hard? Who knows? But right now I am going to combine two of my favourite sayings and go with the flow and do what makes my heart sing.

Start something. Stick with it. Finish it. Great advice – if only I would follow it. 

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