Friday, December 4, 2009

I am my own work in progress

Do you know a person who has the talent and the skills but is going nowhere? The person with the plan whose plan never materializes? A person who is all talk but never demonstrates or shows any action or forward movement?

Well, now you do. Let me introduce myself. I'm Tiana Johnson, and I am working on a romance novel if I can overcome procrastination, an overactive mind, and wanderlust.

I am a hapless, pathetic mess of a writer.

I am the woman who cannot say no to a new idea. Whatever buzzes into my consciousness get immediate attention and pushes everything else out of the way. I am a commitment-phobe who flits and flutters between the current projects, my to-do list, my wants and needs but never settles on one thing for too long. I am a dedicated procrastinator, and I am the laziest person that I know who still manages to accomplish something every now and then.

I am bursting with ideas. On the first day of NaNoWriMo, I wrote a total of 200 words on my current WIP. I spent the other 29 days plotting out a new book and cramming new ideas onto my plate. That was not my intent. But that's what happened. And this morning, I woke up with two short story ideas and a novella plotted.

I cannot focus. That's one of my problems. I get involved in one idea, and then I hop to another idea. I am on the constant search for the better lily pad, the view from the other side of the septic tank, the new and more exciting thing.

My other problem is that I play the role of the writer. I act like a writer. I talk like a writer. But I don't write like a writer. I don't make the investment of putting in the work. Sometimes I think I am floundering with the idea of pushing past the beginning to get to the middle. Sometimes I think I should give up.

I have several works in progress. None of which have moved past a random assortment and collection of scenes. I have plotted scenes, but when I write, the words don't match up to my imagination or the characters don't live up to my expectations.

Therefore, I declare myself as a work in progress. If I can get over myself, then I might have some work that is in progress and that I am comfortable talking about.


  1. Tiana,
    I think ideas that I wake up with are messages from a supremely creative place. Do you think making a commitment to us, your blog sisters, would self-impose helpful weekly deadlines, targets, word counts, chapter counts--whatever we elect?
    Randy Ingermanson's latest newsletter described his penalty for when he falls short of his preset weekly target--he sends his critique partner $10.00. He says its the best investment he makes in his productivity. If he is behind, he makes sure it is because whatever he did instead is worth more than $10.00, so he is always in the black.

    This relates directly, I feel, to the relationships we want to build between each other.

  2. The important thing, Tiana, is that you know yourself!
    You say: "the words don't match up to my imagination or the characters don't live up to my expectations". I think we all feel like this, especially when starting a new story. So the answer is - write it anyway, and keep on writing!

  3. @ Paula: I've heard (and read) a lot of writers who said the same thing. Overcoming that and not getting frustrated are the things I need to work on.

    @ Ana: Yes, I do need accountability. I have a critique partner in my city, and I owe her some work. But the more people I am accountable to, the better. Working on this blog and knowing that I have to post each week on the same day is forcing me to concentrate and put my hands on the keyboard.

  4. Me, too! I doubt my writing so much that I find innumerable excuses to not open the WIP file. I blast out CSA newsletters weekly.. because I have to. Deadlines and accountability are our allies.

  5. So how do you want to proceed with accountability? Should we set a date? I am clueless.

  6. I am new to group therapy. I think we should pose the question, suggest ideas, and then adopt the best ones.