What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?

I’ve been keeping up with my bizarre new ritual of getting up about an hour early every morning to spend some time on my writing. It’s allowed me time to catch up on other people’s blogs, check my email, try and find publishers accepting novella submissions (which is turning out to be a lot harder than I thought), check Facebook…basically do anything but write.

It’s not that I don’t want to write. On the contrary, I’m itching to write. I did write another flash fiction piece, but I’m anxious to write something a little longer. The problem? To borrow a phrase from Ned Flanders, I’m in a dilly of a pickle.


I have a rough draft just sitting there, waiting for me to work my magic, but the magic well appears to have run dry. I see (some of) the problems with it, but haven’t had any light bulbs going off about how to fix them. And so I sit. And read. And wait. And nothing comes.

I’ve read that the hardest part is getting the idea out of your head and onto the computer. Once the rough draft is out of you, whatever you are left with can be shaped and fixed. I’m at a loss here, and don’t see an immediate solution. I guess what I’m wondering is…

Is it a cardinal sin to just set a WIP aside and start a totally new project?

Of course, even if I do that, I’m not totally ready to begin on my new project either. I’m still researching some, and I’m trying to outline and develop the plot a bit more before I start writing. Am I transforming from a pantser to a planner? That’s a topic for another post.

So what’s the popular opinion among the other writers on WordPress? Commit to finish the project before starting a new one, come hell or high water, or start something new and resolve to go back to it later? Of course, there’s also a third option – finish editing the novella I pulled back from submissions. God, there’s more that I could be doing than I realized…your opinions and advice are encouraged and welcome.

Published by Kenneth Jobe

Kenneth Jobe is a writer, photographer, musician, and Native Californian living in the Midwest with his wife and son. His fiction has been published in Jitter, The Rusty Nail, Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror, and the horror anthology Robbed of Sleep, Volume 2.

6 thoughts on “What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?

  1. Seems like we’re on the same track. ^^ Enough writing, editing, etc. to do, but nothing is happening… I’m still trying to restart on the editing work of LLFF, but I haven’t been doing anything for weeks now. It’s not that I don’t want to, it just doesn’t happen it seems.
    Can’t really give you any tips, because I’m stuck as well. But I think it’s okay to start on a new piece of writing when you’re stuck on another one. That way you get your mind off that other piece and that might help to give you new viewpoints on it. After you’ve been working on different things, the ‘old piece’ might be finished in no time 😉 Hope you find motivation, inspiration and concentration soon! Good luck with it all! =)

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! On the surface I don’t see much problem with setting something aside for a little while to “let it breathe,” so to speak. I guess the reason I worry is because I can picture myself a year from now with five rough drafts and nothing ready for submission. I don’t think it’s likely, but I can still picture it.

      1. You’re welcome!
        I know what you mean… I’ve been working on LLFF for a few years now (with big intermissions) so I also have this feeling I might never finish it all ^^’ I probably will, but still I have this feeling somewhere deep down inside. Let us know when there’s some progress 😉

  2. I am mid-memoir right now and I keep thinking I should review older works to see if I can get those published while working the memoir at the same time.
    What happens? I open the old stuff and think it is complete crap. I feel lost and disinterested. Then I realize I have something to blog about or I leave the computer altogether and head into the kitchen to learn more about Domestic Goddessness.

    Good luck!! I think we all go through it. I say, start writing whatever you need to write, to feel accomplished. And I’ll follow my own advice… Tomorrow.

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: