How do you choose what's worth writing?

Today's blog title says it all.  How do you choose which story is worth writing?  

Currently I'm working on two projects.  The first one is another women's fiction story (and - yay me! - just two days ago I figured out the title), and as I stated not too long ago, a YA idea has been coming to me lately, as well.  

Being caught up in a young adult story is an entirely different world compared to writing for adults.  There are more possibilities (things can be "out there" a little more and still believable),  difficult conversations to write (for me anyway, I am over thirty twenty-five, you know), a whole new set of relationships (parents, for one), and so on, but I'd have to say that I'm truly enjoying doing both.  Except...

I feel like the absent-minded professor.  I'm jotting things down as they come to me, back and forth, one notebook to the other.  If I get really into one of the stories then I'll spend a few days on it... then eventually move on and the same thing happens with the other one.  

It reminds me of how I clean my house.  If the plan is to dust and do laundry, I usually start out right on track.  Then, next thing I know, odd jobs around the house start to distract me.  The baseboards are dirty.  I never hung those two pictures on the walls.  That one window needs to be cleaned, but I don't really feel like doing the rest.  Before I know it, it's hard to see what's actually being accomplished.

I realize that working on two at the same time isn't what I should be doing.  Time devoted to a specific story line is definitely going to show more progress, and a heck of a lot sooner, to boot.  So how do you decide which one should be occupying your time?  For me, working on an entirely different genre might be a total waste.  Or, it could turn out better than I'd ever imagined.   

So what would you do?  Go with your gut, and stick to what you're used to?  Or take a leap of faith, and do something different for a change?


9 comments:

Piedmont Writer said...

Personally, I clean my house like you do. Start out with the intention of the kitchen but then I go upstairs for something and well, let's just call it sidetracked.

I do the same thing with my writing. I'm currently working on 3 different projects. I find when I get stagnant (bored) with one, I can then go to anther and write my heart out, then when I've exhausted all the possibilities I turn to another. It's not a super way to write and it does take away from the finish line, but it does keep me writing. And hey, who knows, maybe by the end of it all I'll have 3 books to query instead of just one.

I don't think it matters how you write only THAT you write.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I tend to work on one project at a time, although I have worked on two books at once. They were of two very different genres, which is the only reason I completed either.
But when inspiration strikes...

coffeelvnmom said...

Piedmont Writer, that's exactly me! And I never thought of it that way, though it may take longer, you're right, it may end up being more productive!

And L. Diane Wolfe, I love that. "But when inspiration strikes..." We have to write it down when it comes to us, right? =)

Janet Johnson said...

I go with my gut, and that puts me all over the place. Currently working on 2 different projects myself.

Fun post! Found you over at Shooting Stars. :)

Susie said...

Definitely go with your gut. That's where the writing is birthed and "randoms" work well all over the place.

coffeelvnmom said...

Thanks guys, I'm going to stick to what I'm good at, then:)

Travener said...

I have all these brilliant ideas that are good for one sentence but I can't figure out how to fill the story out with a, you know, plot and all... I did sort of have a flash of insight today -- I count on insight a lot -- so that's my guide. But I don't really know until I'm writing it whether the idea will work or not.

mi said...

personally, i only work on one project at a time.
but i do feel you need to go with your gut.

it's the reason i don't plot point my novels or make outlines before i begin writing, because i like my writing to be fluid and organic.

Talli Roland said...

Interesting question.

I might get a great idea in a flash but I try to let it sit for a bit and revisit it from time to time, to see if it's really as good as I thought it was! Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't...