Efficiently Efficient non-Efficiency

I’m big on finishing things… at least when it comes to my writing projects…

…now ask me if I have anything finished…

I’ve re-visited a story I started when I was about 15 over and over, constantly revising, tweaking, and stretching the story into less a purge of an adolescent mind, and more a coherent work worthy of being shared. It’s technically finished, except for the pieces throughout the middle that’ve recently been hacked out, waiting for  – well – whatever it is I think it needs.

…It’s been mentioned I’m an over-editor….

I have three other works with solid outlines (please read outlines as less a verb, and more a semi-coherent noun-ish type word, reflecting less, rather than more), but this original work haunts me. Something inside me says I need to truly finish it before I can commit to any of these others, though one of these other projects has a rough draft of about 130,000 words. Could be 2 books, yes?

Then I listened to Freakanomics: Failure is Your Friend, and a subsequent episode: The Upside of Quitting. They made me really consider whether completely scrapping this original project might be good for me, even if there’s been significant improvement in the last months (check here to see another format I’ve considered).

There’s a similar issue with this second project, and it’s alleged first draft, mostly born from the random process I fell into, that was completely antithesis to any I’ve ever used. The project started off as a script, a format I’d never tackled before. Then, I went back to turn it into a novel. An easy task, one would think (at least I did, at first), since the entire story was already out.

That actually became the problem. Since the story was already out of my brain, that urge to express it, that need to get it out, was gone. Changing language from script-speak to the flow of a more imaginative style was a giant hiccup, with constant goings-away and comings-back to purge the choppy technicalish writing of the original form. I still find awkward sentencing buried in the draft. At this point, I wonder if I should just start from scratch…

I’ve put so much time into both of these works that the idea of burning them from my mind is horrifying. I’ve taken plenty of time off from both, to come back refreshed, making progress, to end up in the second-guessing game. The most frustrating part about this, is I’m a don’t let fear rule you preacher. Yet, when it comes to these written projects, I’m like the proverbial deer in headlights.

Grat article on efficiency possibly not mattering
Grat article on efficiency possibly not mattering

The idea of:

efficiency of failure; the efficiency of recognizing something not going anywhere, and cutting ones losses early on

rang with me. Efficiency is fairly common in the rest of my world, so why not in this area? Until some greater epiphany hits, I’ll continue to plug away, even if it is non-efficient.

  • Thoughts on efficiency in your writing process?
  • How do you get in front of your second-guessing nature?

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