I Bought a Sticker
I struggle to come up with new story ideas. I'm not one of those people with a hundred started stories or a list of potential stories. I have two completed manuscripts I'm in the process of revising and I've been working with them for years.
Not only do I struggle to come up with ideas, but I struggle to convince myself they're worth pursuing. I have trouble getting started. However, I recently started a new project. I was doubting it (as usual) and decided I needed to commit to this idea. I needed to assure myself that I should run with it. I needed to get organized.
Now, I'm not much of a planner when it comes to writing. Or a planner at all. I write first drafts with a "don't think, just go" mentality. It gets done faster but it also means that names, descriptions, ages, and details change like crazy because I don't look back to fact-check anything.
I do all my organizing in the revision process. For the two projects I've been working on, I have a notebook. I have a timeline, character profiles, pages of random facts, charts, and lists. I have maps of their houses. I have drawings of the characters. Each main character has a color assigned to them and pages that have to do with them are marked with their color. I have a Google calendar (also color-coded).
All of that is in a nice ringed planner. I also have highlighters in there and pouches for extra papers. On the cover, I painted a square and put a sticker in the middle that says "don't worry, it's just a first draft." It's beautiful and I love it.
This notebook feels important. It looks important. It looks like I know what I'm doing even though some pages (usually the ones I made in the middle of the night) have a a sticky note on them that says "Rachel, what on earth is this?" I'm not kidding. But the point is, this notebook made things official. These were projects I was committed to and excited about.
So for this new project, I bought another notebook. It's mostly blank, because I'm still on the first draft and, like I said, I don't plan anything in first drafts. But there's paper in it and character profiles ready to be filled in and I've been jotting down random facts as they arise.
To make it official, I bought a sticker. It says "novel in progress" with a loading bar under it. It looks important and got me excited. I've invested in this story and made it feel like a valid idea, so I can't stop now. I'm committed. I'm not giving up on it. Most importantly, I no longer want to.
I'll do a post next week on organizing your writing and I'll include some more pictures of these notebooks. I'm quite proud of them.
What do you do to get yourself excited about a new project?