I am a creature of habit. When I go to my favorite restaurant I usually order the same meal. If I’m daring, I might rotate between two different meals. When I vacation in a certain city, I tend to stay at the same the same hotel. I wake up at the same time every morning, whether I have work or not, and I essentially follow the same routine every day. Sounds a bit boring doesn’t it, but to me it’s comfortable. I like knowing what to expect, but I’ve got to be honest, sometimes it bores me too.
Sometimes I get in a rut and need to shake things up a bit, you know, live a little. So from time to time I’ll get wild and switch my brand of chocolate cupcake or order the Chalupa instead of a Chimichanga. I’m a wild and crazy guy.
I notice I get into similar ruts in my writing. The rut I noticed most recently is that I write everything in 3rd person. There’s nothing wrong with third person. I enjoy reading it and when I envision a story in my mind, I usually view it like I would watch a TV show or movie, which lends itself to 3rd person point of view. But I have to ask myself “Do I dare try something new?” My answer this week, is “yes”!
My first two completed manuscripts, including Defensive Tactics, and my current work in progress are all 3rd person so I decided to shake things up. This week I started another WIP in 1st person POV. I’m the last of the party animals. I have to admit, this new experiment makes me a little nervous. Can I do it? Will it suck rocks? Is it a total waste of my time? The answers are- I don’t know, I don’t know, and NO. I will never know the answer to the first two questions if I don’t try, but regardless of whether it turns into a publishable manuscript or not, my new 1st person WIP is not a waste of my time because it is forcing me to stretch and grow and experiment. So far I love it.
A couple of years ago I started writing Defensive Tactics because I was curious if I could write a novel. It was an experiment. I had never written anything before, unless you count college papers, which I don’t. I wrote my second manuscript, Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island because I love adventures and treasure hunts and I wondered if I could write a mid-grade fantasy that my kids would enjoy. My kids love it but the publishing jury is still out. In both cases I took a chance to try something new.
There is comfort and safety in sticking with habit and the familiar, but there can be excitement, challenge and reward in broadening horizons.
I have a couple of questions for you.
1- What kind of a creature are you?
2- What kind of ruts do you get into? Writing? Reading?
3- How do you get out of it?
4- How many WIP do you have going at the same time?
I would love to read your answers and learn from your wisdom.