What It’s Like Inside My Head, or The WIP Machine

Some of my writer friends call me the WIP Queen. At least, I’m assuming they mean WIP and not Whip. Because that would just be awkward. I swear I didn’t tell them– Anyway.

When I told my friend slash alpha reader Derek* about my intention to write a blog post about this subject, he said, and I quote: “That is a fascinating topic. I find your head amazeballs. Shaped like a giant inflated pumpkin balloon. Full of weird thoughts. Passions and desires. Snacks.”

Giant inflated pumpkin balloon aside, all of these things are true (and possibly deserving of their own blog posts at some point in the future). However, first and foremost, my head is filled with a WIP generator. While that might sound blissful to some, it’s a pain in the behind.

To wit, this is the process that usually occurs, while hiking, cooking, showering, snoozing, et cetera:

  1. A line pops into my head. Dialogue, or a first line of a first chapter, or a description, or maybe a faint idea of plot.
  2. Oh, that would make a cool short. But should I go route A, or route B?
  3. Dammit, I can’t choose. A divine sign that I should do both?
  4. In the span of an hour at the most, Route A and Route B both grow at a breakneck pace from short to novella to novel, adding characters and background and plot threads, until it’s a series of at least five books in the same universe with an ever expanding plot and character list.
  5. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This has led to a writing folder with 51 WIPs, at last count. Only 51, because I ignore the ideas that don’t make my writer boner go SPROINK immediately. And just about 14 of those 51 are shelved. For the others, I still get ideas, I still brainstorm, I still write. I find it hugely frustrating that I will never be able to finish all of them in my lifetime, and that the way my brain is wired means that I’ll come up with another 100 or so in the next decades that may never see the light of day.

To combat this, I’ve come up with a strategy. I focus on one WIP. That’s my main squeeze, my bb, my magnum opus. As long as I make my daily word count for that WIP, I’m allowed to play around with others. Which is necessary. The next WIP I’m going to focus on, when my current one TRUE COLORS is done (just three more chapters), is very lighthearted. I won’t be able to only write that one without also dabbling in some grimmer worlds. But that’s a topic for next time, darlings.

*Derek is not for sale. Mine.