A friend of mine commented awhile back that she couldn’t imagine writing scripts on spec because of the challenge to stay motivated to complete the work. That sentiment goes a long way to explain why first novels (or tenth, perhaps) can take years to write and longer to re-write. But somehow that doesn’t hinder the urge to initiate a project. The compulsion to start coupled with the near impossibility of finishing usually results in a drawer (or hard drive) full of half-completed works – kind of like a tickle trunk of literary play things.
I read a piece of advice recently that urged new writers to avoid the temptation to start new projects before finishing the current one. The advice came from an established writer who had realized that the abandonment of current novels was the surest way to never completing any. I have to keep reminding myself that if I do it, it will get done. But in the meantime, I have built a tickle trunk of ideas.
One of those pieces is the journal I started while travelling in Africa. There was just too much going on to maintain my initial diligence in writing daily. I kept mementos and scraps of paper in addition to the tons of photographs I took to flush out the memories for later, but my photography is the more complete picture of the trip. One gem I do have in the journal is a story with a beginning, middle, end, and an epilogue. It needs a little editing but I have decided to put it together as its own piece and submit it for publishing. I don’t know the best publication yet, but that will be a step to take along with fleshing out the entry.
Before that, having finished making the last handwritten corrections to the pages of my romance novel and narrowed down targeted publishers to two, I am just about ready to submit the first novel. The submission requires an accompanying treatment/synopsis – a writing project unto itself. I’ve started it, and now I have reason to complete it.