After 25 years of trying to write a novel and failing I have realized, as previously discussed that that path is not for me. Complicated reasons but this is the conclusion. So I only write stories now, in my spare time, to get energy. To have fun. IF that goal is achieved, then I write to get read. To find readers. To entertain. IF that goal is achieved then I will try to monetize the work, get it sold in a market. IF that succeeds to a level of some significance I will try to set aside funds from the surplus to donate to some cause or other. And I do have a dream of reaching that last stage. I really do. But not at expense of the first stage: To get energy, to have fun. Never again. If that makes me fail to reach the dream, so be it. It is not worth doing it otherwise. I have tried that too often. And now I will go and do more dishes.
"So to me the creative process, the writing of the story or book, is the fun part, the part I desire. I love the process. So I want to do more of it and thus I end up being very productive. I play one story at a time, story after story after story. People like me are writers. Writers are people who write. People who say they hate writing but love having written are authors, not writers. And they tend to vanish after a few years." - Dean Wesley Smith
IMO You have to do at least two things to 'find' a plot (and thus conflicts) in a story: 1) Put some part of a painful memory, a returning fear, a constant yearning, a powerful desire or any another resonant experience, fantasy or wishful thinking you have ever had yourself ... into one or more of your characters. 2) Want badly enough to explore and share that particular experience with the world in prose, even if in a totally disguised form.
I thought for a long time it would help me finish creative projects if I narrowed them down to just one, due to work and family time constraints. Turns out I get more motivated by having about 3 projects that I can shift between (but not many more), like I am recording an album instead of just having to choose a single song. It may take longer, in principle, to finish any one of these projects, yes - but now I feel more confident that I WILL actually finish one, because I realized that this worked for me.
“A poet is a painter in his way, he draws to the life, but in another kind; we draw the nobler part, the soul and the mind; the pictures of the pen shall outlast those of the pencil, and even worlds themselves.” - Aphra Behn
And now, today, I felt again afraid that I - for some reason - would not make it. Would not draw all the things I really want to draw. Or write all the things I really want to write. Very afraid ... And I think I know why ... I felt afraid because I was not spending enough time doing it. For when I don't spend enough time doing it, then ... it is obvious to feel afraid: "What if I die tomorrow or next year? ... Without having ... " Obvious. I see that now. And I shared that. I hope you can use it. I can.
Like I wrote the other day: ... I am still only doing Hammer and Magic – art and illustration bits – in my spare-time when I need to relax. I am going to be deliberately and hopelessly “unprofessional” about how I work on this project, because I know from experience that … nothing else works, if I want to stay motivated under the circumstances of my life. And I am very clear about that.
So money, miscast loyalty to others, and devotion to productivity methods that may work for others but not oneself. Those three agendas sucked out a lot of energy from the YA novel, until I shelved it when other parts of reality killed the last of my motivation, notably my need to focus on my own business, on getting settled in yet another new apartment and dealing with the personal and relationship fall-out after (at first) not having been able to have Jay, after many treatments. Oh, and a couple of close family members died, too. Just sayin' ...
So maybe this is stupid. Another false start. Another hope that won't really come to anything. Another groping in the dark. But I have to keep this search up, after a story with art that I can do, at this point in my life, because I need to do such creativity. I have to keep up the search. Otherwise, what is there but to sit in the dark and wait for it to become all there is?
And that's it for this time. Only a few hundred words, but each one feels like a small candle in winter.
And that is as far as I got before reality intervened. But at least I touched on something beautiful.
Well ... I am not sure when the right time will be to do a little of that writing I have been talking about recently - again. Maybe I should rather reflect on how psychologists who read this in 50 years time will have a ball trying to figure my head out, due to all my wavering and vacillation when it comes to choosing and prioritizing creative projects, and then over-analyzing myself and freezing before I even get started. Or maybe I will just start some time, when I have to force myself to use half an hour here or 15 minutes there, when I'd rather sleep and rest, and then post the result tomorrow. I think I shall.
But right now, no matter the idealism, it just doesn't seem tenable to stand up and say: 'Now I will really prioritize Creative Project A so I can show what I am made of and do this before I die'. No, now is the time to be patient and chip away at this bit by bit and then plan for the future. If that is the wrong choice, so be it, and it is certainly a difficult choice. But I see no other way. Just another day in parent-land, but fortunately that is also a land with many other green pastures.
But sometimes you have to go on an intuition, if you feel it strong enough. Even if there are many unanswered questions and will be for some time.