This seems to be a re-occurring theme for me, and I suppose for many writers: Can I do it again?
The ‘it’ is write. Can I repeat the magic? Do I have another story in me? Will the clever hooks and twists and turns be so evident in my next writing as in my last writing? Will I be satisfied with what I am about to write? Will I put in the required time and thinking necessary to make it good and worthwhile?
Can I do it again?
Self-doubt is never far removed from any writer who is being honest with themselves. For me it cyclically comes in the back of my mind when a new writing season is upon me because, I guess, my writing is quite cyclical.
I mainly have two main writing seasons each year: summer and Christmas vacation. I usually have two months each summer where I have some significant time concentrating on my writing – usually able to spend at least a couple hours a day on it. Around Christmas I have 3-4 weeks of the same. In between those times I do write, just not consistently because of the many other demands upon my time.
I’m finally closing in on my cherished summer writing season, and, like I usually do, I can’t wait to get started, so I always start writing things here and there, jotting down ideas, and, essentially, gearing up for the big writing marathon around the corner. This week I’ve been working on some short dramatic sketches which I’ve had on tap for quite sometime. My summer writing always consists of writing about 8-10 dramatic sketches and a novel. It’s quite a lot. I’m way ahead of the game this year. My next novel is already about 40,000 words finished so I should be able to polish it off nicely this summer. The sketches typically come to me easily, but just this week as I was writing one I started having those thoughts again: Can I do this again?
I’ve been real happy with the results of my dramatic sketches the last couple of years. I’ve gotten a lot better at it and even had the privilege of winning a couple awards. But I still wondered if I could repeat the quality of what I had previously done.
The one sketch I’m working on now is giving me some trouble. I like the idea, but the ending is not easily flushing itself out yet which has been a little frustrating. But I just need to remember my procedures and trust my instincts which have led me to write 30 dramatic sketches in the past. And what are those procedures?
1) Put in the time.
3) Don’t be satisfied with the first thing that comes into my mind.
4) Add details and texture to the story – even when its short (especially if its short)
5) Read it again. Think.
6) Think some more.
7) Don’t be finished until you have to.
Then move on.