Monday, March 20, 2006

Nothing in moderation

Well, almost nothing in moderation, I'm afraid. I do eat & drink in moderation, except for Dr Pepper, which I have an unseemly addiction to. But in general, I am SUCH an all-or-nothing, feast-or-famine type of person. Much of the problem is I'm terrible at transitions. It's hard for me to start anything, & it's hard for me to stop anything. I write nothing for long stretches, or I write a 60,000-word novel in 17 days, while simultaneously writing an article and 12,000 words on another novel. I don't blog for a week or two, or I post 4 times in one day. When I read a book, I nearly always read it straight through in one sitting, which is probably one reason I prefer children's & YA novels to adult ones! (If I have to leave a book sitting for a while, chances are good I will never get back to it.) Even when I'm reading to my kids for bedtime, I have a hard time stopping until I've read the whole book aloud...even if it's an 80-page chapter book and it's nearly 10:00 at night! And my ideal vision for my house is something so perfect & so organized that even the toilet paper roll would be perfectly centered on the dispenser, with no rips or uneven edges on the first piece. Not being able to manage that regularly, I tend to give up & just block out the clutter piling up around me or the dishes in the sink, and step over stuff on the floor without really noticing it.

The other day I got some software that's supposed to help you learn to sing (yeah, the one they advertise on TV, that has the microphone & lets you track your pitch in real time...I'm a sucker, although I bought it from Amazon, not TV). It starts with a series of 20 lessons, and then you can do freeform exercises or singing practice. I thought I'd spend a few minutes setting it up & then get back to it later, but after I set it up, I sat there singing for hours until I'd finished all 20 lessons! (The singing itself was both encouraging and frustrating. I was shocked I didn't completely bomb all the sections, and in fact aced most of them quickly. Then I moved to the freeform part and it all fell apart. But the fact I could hit any notes accurately at all was a happy shock after years of singing shame!) And then there's Tetris, which grabbed me back for a while last week after a several-year hiatus...thank goodness I'm back out of Tetris obsession mode right now.

So, writing ideas are no exception. I'm bursting with ideas. More than I've managed to even write down or remember. But it's hard to stop the flow of new ideas long enough to choose one of them and block the others out. I've got a list of 9 novels I feel pretty committed to writing (including the 1 that I already have a whole draft of). Then I have an idea for a midgrade series, and 5 other vague novel idea possibilities. Now, I have come up with yet another idea! When I come up with an idea I like, I go through the novels I already have listed to see if I can plug my idea into an existing project idea. This time, it might work. Except, I have at least two ideas on my list that this idea might fit into! And those ideas are completely different, so I'm not sure where I'd want to use it. It might also work for my series idea. Meanwhile, I can see Lydia from my main YA novel rolling her eyes & wishing I'd just get back to her story so it can be over & done with. Then I might actually be able to justify thinking about another idea! Hang on, Lydia, I'm getting there!

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