I think the hardest part about writing is when your mind moves faster than your fingers can type, but it’s doubly hard when the story moves on in your head while you’re dreaming, taking your brain further along in the story than where you’ve typed to.
You would think after all these years I would be accustomed to this problem, since, after all, my stories do play out in my mind while I’m doing other things, like chores, or sleeping, and the fact is it usually helps me work out what happens next.
My problem is that sometimes my brain skips way ahead.
I know there are authors who insist they write whatever scene is on their minds then go back in edits to put the scenes in order and fill in the blanks. I’ve tried this. I have several manuscripts with the words “skip ahead,” typed into the manuscript. But each time I reread those manuscripts I’m still drawing a blank as to how to fill in the gap.
In the past week, instead of forcing myself to work on my manuscript I’ve volunteered to chauffeur a friend around, went shopping and out to lunch with a friend, taken my sister-in-law to various appointments, and played countless games on my computer. I’ve also opened my manuscript any number of times, but all I’ve managed is adding a couple paragraphs, and those simple sentences took me most of the day! I’m generally not that slow.
In fact, I have it open right now. But as I know it ends well before the spot running through my head, I can’t bring myself to even look at it.
Why does my brain have to jump ahead?
Well, it needs something to do while I’m doing other things. Let’s face it, I have ADD, my brain goes, period. It doesn’t stop, not even when I’m asleep, since my dreams often give me story ideas, or solve problems I’m having with a plot.
None of which helps me complete another manuscript. I’ve managed it six times, but none since, and I’m starting to feel like I will never manage it again.
I’ve gone to the point of telling myself not to start another one until I finish what I’m working on, but then the story I’m working hits a road block I can’t seem to work out while another story takes over. This has happened many times, and only once have I managed, after almost a year of working on other stories, returned to the interrupted story, when a sudden idea gave me a new path to take.
Then again, I did finish that one, thanks to the inspiration. Maybe I should stop fighting it and just go along with my scatterbrained muse. What do you think?