I’m horrible at sticking to one project.
I mean, I’m absolutely terrible at it. Consistency—specifically with writing—is not my strength. The problem is that I get super excited about a project and work on it until the flame burns out. And while I’m trying to find a match to relight it, another project’s flame starts burning brighter. So I put my attention on there until that flame burns out and the entire cycle continues.
This is no way unique to me. In fact, I think this is a near universal writer issue. I have yet to meet one who hasn’t had the problem of trying to tend to too many fires at once. So, in this post, I’m going to talk through some of my fires.
First, there’s school. Arguably, the biggest fire I’m dealing with is my last semester of college. I’m taking six classes—four psychology and two creative writing. As you probably guess, I’m loving my writing classes a lot more. Although, my psychology classes are interesting and are definitely giving me some ideas to write with.
On a similar note, I’m in a program outside of school. It’s a writing program through Arizona State University. It’s online and called Your Novel Year. The course is broken down into eight-week blocks with each week focusing on a different aspect of storytelling—characterization, plot, voice, setting, et cetera et cetera. It’s only week six of the first block but it’s already an amazing program and I’m excited to get more in depth.
The two writing classes I’m taking in college are an advanced fiction class and a mixed-genre class with a focus on coming of age. They’re both great classes in their own ways. The advanced fiction class focuses more on peer workshop. The second week of school, we were reading classmates’ work and discussing it in class. I love workshop because you get so many perspectives; you can see how your work reads in a safe environment before releasing it out into the world. Workshop can bring up problems that you didn’t see with writing or even problems you did see and wanted thoughts on. One of my favorite feelings is post-workshop after getting good feedback and constructive criticism on what you’ve written.
My second class different from ones I’ve taken in the past because it’s a mixed genre class, which means that any assignment you turn in can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenplay, or a play script. The last couple of weeks, most of the class has brought in nonfiction work or poetry based on childhood experiences. This is in part because we finished reading two memoirs—This Boys Life and The Glass Castle—and our writing prompts drawn from those readings focused on calling back our childhood experiences. Unlike advanced fiction, we split our class time between discussing the last memoir and workshopping the pieces we brought in. Again, like advanced fiction, the workshops in this mixed genre class give new perspectives and critiques on your writing that help strengthen the piece.
The cool thing is that these two writing classes have different vibes and different people in the classes so most critiques and perspectives don’t overlap. Having about thirty plus people make comments on your work is extremely beneficial and no doubt, my favorite thing about writing classes that are workshop focused.
This semester, I’ve been working a lot on writing for my classes and not so much time working on things for myself. However, I have written some things for classes that I have really liked and would consider using in future projects.
I haven’t really settled what book I want to focus on writing next. My ‘Currently Writing’ section has three different books right now. I have to choose a book to focus on writing for Your Novel Year. I’m not sure whether I want that to be different than one of my personal projects. I have preferences for both but I also have so many ideas that I want to develop and I’m having a hard time picking which to focus on. On top of that, I’m working on editing and restructuring and rewriting a few others.
So I have a lot of flames and I’m trying to tend to all of them. One or two will eventually win out but, for now, I’m enjoying fueling each one on their own.