I’ve been listening to a new podcast called “Writing Excuses” that is – as you might have guessed –  a podcast focused on writing.  Each episode is about 15-20 minuets long and they have a wonderful panel of several writers and have weekly guests.  A typical podcast set up – but with bite sized episodes and both enjoyable and helpful content.  At the end of every episode they end with, “this has been Writing Excuses, and now you’re out of excuses so go write.”

Each time I hear those words I both have an urge to do just that – but I also internally cringe as I realize that I’m likely not going to write as I should.  I’ve been doing a little work on the outlining of the Young Adult Fantasy book I mentioned in my last post, but beyond that I’ve done nothing.  Heck I’m even behind on my world building for my Dungeons and Dragons campaign, which is within the same world as many of the stories I want to tell.  That crossover has helped me build and create some interesting places within the world, but I’ve become complacent and haven’t put the time in like I’ve wanted to.

Part of me wonders if this is some fear of failure so I’m trying to avoid actually trying to avoid failure?  But many of these projects don’t have fail states – so I’m no longer convinced that’s the main reason for my lack luster attempts.  Whatever the case may be I want it fixed.  The good news is I’ve started some new habits and have been regular with those – which gives me hope that I’ll be able to become regular with my writing.

Part of me wonders if having a spot where I work/write, away from my usual lazy spots, would be helpful.  I know despite my many tries to exercise the best way for me to actually work out is to go to the YMCA.  After committing time, money, and energy to get to the YMCA I’m not going to just laze about.  That and I don’t have many distractions while I’m there either.  Finding a special ‘work space’ might be a good idea.

In the meantime I’ve been wanting to get back to work on A House Divided.  Funny how as I get started on one story another comes plodding along to distract me.  Anyways – as I’ve listened to Writing Excuses one of the ideas that they’re plopped into my head is different ways of approaching outlining and writing in general.  One such idea is exploratory writing (free form and without an outline), with a specific scene or goal in mind.  I’ve often done a lot of free form in the past, but I’ve gotten away from it the past several years.

Going forward I would like to mix and match the exploratory writing with structured writing (writing with outlines).  I’ve been thinking A House Divided could be a nice bridge as I’ve done a bit of that story already in the free form.  Adding in a little structure and finishing it could be a nice boost.

One particular reason I want to step away from heavy structure is that I don’t find the actual writing nearly as engaging if I have ever little detail figured out as I go along.  However – I’ve also learned that if I don’t have any structure my work tends to off the deep end as I ‘explore.’  The key is likely that age-old-saying “everything in moderation.”

The structure I’d like to impose on myself is to write the scene that inspired A House Divided.  It’s been years, but I remember the image and the dialogue, that sparked the idea for the story.  Over the next couple of days I want to write that scene and polish it a little.  Once I have the scene – which is essentially the climax of the story – set as a goal post I think my story won’t be all over the place.

My biggest problem with A House Divided was that I kept changing my mind about what kind of story it was when I tried to outline it.  At first it was a spy political drama, then a war story, a mix of the two, and a few other ideas.  Since I was never able to settle on what kind of story I was trying to tell I stopped trying to tell it – which is a shame since I still think the scene is a compelling one.

It’s for that reason that I want to write that scene.  Honestly I also just want to finish A House Divided and be happy/proud that I was able to finish a project.