I have a big red 5 subject notebook. It's chaos. In it, I keep just about every book related thought that occurs to me. A snippet of conversation overheard. The lavenderness of a summer evening in the woods, and the way the gnats rise from the undergrowth in a wavering mass. The careless courage of a curious young fawn. Images, solutions, inspirations, dreams. They all go into the big red notebook for further consideration.
I had intentions of keeping it organized, since it was divided into useful sections, but I discovered the sections didn't mean anything in the end. Is an image gathered from the space between dreaming and waking an inspiration? A piece of story? A plot solution? i don't know. It's just what it is: a flash of thought that might prove useful later. So putting them in different places just made them harder to find later when I wanted to remember what was so important i wrote it down so as not to forget it, and now I've forgotten both the thing and where I put it.
Stephen King said in his book, "On Writing", that he doesn't write anything down, because the good ideas stick. (I'm paraphrasing.) I find I lose too much with this philosophy, and I wish I had written more down. I can always discard, but an idea lost seems to be gone forever. Having said all that, I have held on tightly to enormous amounts of garbage. Or maybe they were flashes of unmitigated genius lost to the vagueness of the entries. Some notes, unmoored from their original thoughts, are of no use to me without them.
So what do you do? Do you keep track? Write down? Let go? Let's talk about it.
Sometimes, I don't feel like writing. I just don't want to. I love writing, so there's usually a reason why I grumble as I plop down in the chair without enthusiasm. Here are my reasons, and what I do about them.
Fatigue is the creativity killer. Many of us have other jobs, and most of us have other obligations that require our attention. And I hear you, devoted writers who say that you make time for the things that really matter to you. That is true. But most of us are pulled in many directions at once, and you do have to make choices.
When my problem is fatigue, I choose rest. Not the two week kind, but a few hours, maybe overnight if it's been really rough. While plenty of pantsers wander in their plots, I don't like to, and when I find that things are just randomly happening to characters, or I'm describing the process of tying shoes in great detail, it's time to rest. My readers don't want to read that. I don't want to write it. It usually comes from fatigue, and anything I write in that state will wind up cut anyway.
2) Wandering Plot
See above for the cause of this problem. Once I've let it happen, I find it hard to keep writing. I don't want to throw out pages of work, but I don't want to keep going as if I haven't noticed I've gone off track.
This one requires the courage to throw it out. Go back to where you lost the thread, and start slashing, metaphorically. It will hurt, but when you go back and start that scene over, it will be better, and you will feel better as a result. It's cleansing to let the shoe tying go, and return to something more interesting.
If you're bored with your story, chances are good your reader will be, too. When were you last enthused about it? Find that spot, and consider what would have happened if that character had gone the other way at a metaphorical fork. Or maybe a physical fork. Is it possible to make a better story that way? More conflict?
Sometimes, too, it's a lack of detail. You don't want endless descriptions of a window frame, but you do want to know whether it's wood and glass, or just a hole in a stone wall. Make sure you've thoroughly painted your scene, so you can see your characters moving through fictional space and time. If you get into their worlds, you will be more embedded in your world, and you can take your readers with you.
These are my solutions to sudden and overwhelming indifference to a project. Have you got another reason for your indifference? What do you do to alleviate these problems? Let me know - let's talk about it.
I'm not afraid to say it. I love my little mountain home, but I'm not sure where Spring went, and Summer's heat and humidity are gathering on every solid surface. What does this have to do with writing? I was going to make some obscure cosmic connection, but it's hot and I'm cranky, so I'll admit there's nothing. I am writing, of course. The second book, 'Twins', of my Ereban Trilogy is half first-drafted. And yes, that's a word.
The positives? Fresh tomatoes and bright colors at the farmers' market, if you can get there early. I don't know about your part of the world, but in mine, if you show up past 10, you're getting bugs in your cucumbers and that's how it goes. The early bird gets the watermelon. Also, when the rain finally breaks through and falls it doesn't chill your bones like it will in November. You can just let it fall on you and be glad of it. Which is good, because it falls sideways, and there's really nowhere to run.
Rainy weather is great for writing, and sleeping, and it's important to keep them separate. I always do. I've never fallen asleep on my keyboard and typed pages and pages of the letter 'G', because I am a sophisticated adult who is in charge of things. For example, I remembered to buy toothbrushes on the first try, despite the heat radiating forth from the pavement at midday.
I'm sure you're impressed.