So, I went on record that 2015 was a pretty depressing year for writing. It’s the first year I didn’t finish a single project since I got off a 3 year long accidental writing hiatus in 2011. And I spent a lot of time beating myself up for that.
The thing is, if I had just stopped beating myself up, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to find a project I could stick with. I was just shoving things down my throat until I vomited story all over the place. And it was during that recovery period that the right ideas found me. Ideas I’ve had for months, mind you. They didn’t just spring up out of nowhere. They were just waiting patiently for me to calm down so I wouldn’t ruin them the way I ruined so many others.
One of the things I do with this site is use it to keep up with my other projects. If I put it in a file on my computer, I’ll never look at it, except that one time a year I go through the plot bunny field and laugh at all the horrible ideas I have and delete none of them. Hey! Maybe one of them is a diamond in disguise. ^_^
At one point last year, I had nearly 30 projects on my list! And while looking at it I thought to myself, “This is terrible!” I felt so overwhelmed and crappy.
The first thing I did was delete everything that stressed me out. I mean, really. If just the thought of working on it is stressing me, it has no business being up for consideration. GONE! Next I axed anything I hadn’t made any brainstorming or plot progress on in the last year, except for one story. And that’s just because I’m ready to give up on it. Yet.
After this, everything in the “ground zero” section was deleted. I always have little bunnies hopping around, did I really did a list of everything I’m thinking about? No.
This caused a chop-crazy mode to be activated, where I cut anything that wasn’t holding on to the fence for dear life. That made me feel better. Lol! It’s like mental clutter, you know. The system doesn’t work if I can’t see the system.
And what is this system? Since you asked. ;P
I have seven categories:
Current Projects – home to the things I’m actively drafting, outlining, or brainstorming
Brainstorming/PrePlanning – home to the projects I’ll check on first when my current project plate is cleared – these are things I’m passively brainstorming or stories I hope are developing in the subconscious while I’m busy
(re)Brainstorming/Re-articulating Spinal Cortex (a Sim’s reference, haha) – the worst category to be in – home to projects I’ve started or finished that are waiting for me to figure out a fix for them or trash them – these are stories I think might be lost causes but I’m just not ready to give up on them yet
On Hold – the second worst category – home to stories that need more brainstorming or other fixes – things in this section are next on the chopping block, but I’m giving them a chance to work something out because I love the idea of them so much
Bake Mode/Concocting – home to crockpot stories I poke at, brainstorm, and try to work the kinks out of between projects
Ground Zero/Building Block Mode – previous home to a list of ideas I was actively considering that has now been squashed to a represent the plot bunny field as a whole
Past Projects – home to things I’ve finished – it used to be called “shelved projects” but that made me feel like a failure so I changed it to this, which I like better, and also because I reserve the right to pull them out and edit them into something more shiny if I ever should feel the need, whereas my story graveyard is where the truly shelved stories go – of course I could always edit those, too, but it’s extremely unlikely
It’s just a way to keep myself organized and to keep up with what I have in different stages of development. It keeps my ideas from interlocking and creating chaos in my brain. Being in the Brainstorming bucket is no guarantee of anything, though. Things hop categories and new ideas show up all the time. One of my current projects, “Songbird,” was in the Bake Mode bucket for months and months until the middle of December where it suddenly sprang out (on it’s own, I should add) into the Brainstorming bucket, and then jumped over the projects ahead of it to land in the Current Project bucket.
Like, how could I not admire that! That’s a story that wants to be told. 😀
Am I the only one who does something like this? Since I write down every single stupid idea I have, I feel like if I institute some kind of hierarchy, it makes them fight harder for my attention. Only the strong survive. ^_^