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save me from my brain-children

my brain is all backed up. call someone.
i don't have writer's block. i've had writer's block many times. i know what it feels like and this is absolutely not it.

instead, my problem at the moment is that i've had several ideas that i wanted to work on come to me in the last few weeks, or seeds that i'd planted deep in the darkest soil of my brain-garden have suddenly started sprouting like dandelions [which you should not uproot and discard, because they are actually pretty awesome]. that's wonderful, right? i've gone from struggling to get any sort of creative traction and suddenly everything is working.

ok, if you've been struggling with a creative block, you might be a little pissed at me for this, but no, it is not a good thing. i have one computer, one semi-functional brain, two tiny little hands [maybe even smaller than donald trump's!] and a finite amount of time in which i can write and cook and do things to earn money and all the other stuff that takes up my day. so as a result, i've become completely paralyzed. i have a half dozen projects that are competing for my attention and no idea which of them to start first. some of them, i could work on simultaneously, although that would slow progress down on both. some would likely prevent me from working on anything else. some are possibly more lucrative, while others are assuredly less so.

and all of them want to come running out of my brain right now, pushing all the others aside. it's like each of my brain-children needs to be reassured that it is my favourite, or at least my priority, but that's just not the case. i'm fond of all of them and i want each one to see the light of day, at least until i start working on them and decide that i need to send it away somewhere i won't ever have to see it again. [the world is harsh for brain-children.]

i even tried making myself a nice little graph, in the hopes that applying science would eliminate my creative problem. science failed me.

this is what i'm left with:

codename :: saturn
time required :: high
arguments in favour :: although they need to be edited, large chunks of the story and a pretty detailed outline are already done. the bits that are done contain some of my favourite things that i've ever written.
arguments against :: some of the bits that are done require a lot of work themselves, because they're either meandering/ pointless or have continuity errors, so not only is there new work to be done, there's a lot of repairs. it will be a considerable amount of work and my guess is that it will never generate much money. [i'll just say this now, to clear things up: i am not in this for the money. that would be crazy. very few authors can make a living on fiction alone and those who can are generally a little more accessible than the bulk of what i do. but money matters and the less money i can generate from writing, the more time i have to put into things that will bring in the geld.]

codename :: copper
time required :: medium
arguments in favour :: there is a chunk of it done and a fairly detailed outline completed. the style and story are not terribly complex, so while i might not have made as much progress on it as other things, progress will likely be faster. it's something i've never tried before. although there's certainly no guarantee, i would say that this one has a greater chance of generating cat food money than some of its siblings.
arguments against :: it's something i've never tried before, so i'm not convinced i'd be any good at it. but the chief argument against it is that i'm not sure what it's going to turn into; my preferred form has always been the short story. i've honestly never attempted anything that wasn't short, but a few of the things just kept growing and became longer. i'm not really sure where this one would end up. normally, that wouldn't be an issue, but with everything else, i have a good sense of where it would end up, so i feel more comfortable with what my "plan" for it would be.

codename :: tutu
time required :: medium-high
arguments in favour :: i have a very solid outline of this one and it's a style where i know i can work pretty quickly. there isn't a good chance that it would bring me much money, but there is a chance. in fact, if i were able to move it along successfully, it would likely be the best "payback". it's something that arrived in my head more or less fully formed and i always feel i need to respect those ideas. i can't explain why, but having an entire idea for a story handed to you on an imaginary platter feels like means something.
arguments against :: if i'm not able to push it up the ladder of success, it will likely be useless to me, forever. i mean, i'll have it and if i ever manage to get famous, it will be an interesting curio, but that's it. i also think that writing it and trying to get it "out there" is likely to dredge up some past pain that i've learned to live with, but haven't dealt with. so there's the possibility that this is the thing that breaks me for good.

codename :: boathouse
time required :: extremely high
arguments in favour :: it's the thing that has the greatest creative energy around it, something that excites me more than the others at the moment. it's very much in the "seedling" stage, so new "leaves" keep appearing in the form of ideas that just seem to fit perfectly into it. it would likely be the largest project i ever completed, assuming that i did, in fact, complete it.
arguments against :: with the exception of rough notes, everything about this is in my head. this is really picking up something from scratch and it could well end up as a long-term project that ends up going nowhere. before i can even begin it, i have to make a decision about the format it will take, which will have a substantial effect on what i can do with it once it's finished. i think it could possibly bring me some money, but that's a long way off and by no means a guarantee.

codename :: island
time required :: medium-low
arguments in favour :: another project that would take me into an area that i've never tried before and that would be more accessible than my other stuff. there is a good outline established for this one and i even futzed around with writing the first part of it when the idea first came to me a few years ago. has a better shot at some short-term financial success [again, nothing is given] than anything else.
arguments against :: i'm not sure if i can even do this sort of project, because it feels alien to me, more so than anything else. although it could be fun to try, it's different enough that it would be difficult to reconcile with the rest of what i've written. if it doesn't work out, i'll feel more like my time has been wasted than with any other project.

codename :: wheel
time required :: very high
arguments in favour :: it's based on a group of characters i've had bumping around in my head forever. i've seriously written about eight different stories for them and i've never been happy with how they flowed together. more recently, i feel like i've hit on a story that works. i've written sections of this that are still useful, assuming that i can find them, because some of them were actually scribbled out longhand. if i don't do something with this persistent little gang, i'm going to die feeling incomplete.
arguments in favour :: i've never loved this enough to work on it exclusively. i might say now that i have a story that would work, but i've also said that about seven times before and all that's happened is that i've ended up pilfering bits of what i've written and sticking them in other stories. [if you've read tricky, the opening segment, where the heroine margaret reflects on her family history, was originally something i wrote for one of the characters in this story. it was literally copied and pasted into the initial draft of tricky.]  lots of time, lots of work, very high chance that i'll give up again, pretty low odds of a reward.

codename :: lego
time required :: low
arguments in favour :: something i'd be extremely comfortable doing and most of the work is already done. i'm happy with the content that's completed and i think that revisiting some of it could give me ideas that would let me add to it before saying it's "complete". by far the fastest turnaround time to get it finished and out in the world.
arguments against :: if i'm lucky, it will generate enough to take dom out for a nice, but not lavish dinner and maybe a few trinkets besides. the fact that i'm very comfortable with the project is a bit of a double-edged sword, because it also means i wouldn't be pushing my boundaries at all. of the work that remains to be done, i will despise 90% of it.

so now that i've made my handy little pros and cons list, i can say that 1. i'm not really any closer to making a decision; 2. i've just managed to distract myself from doing any work on any of these things by writing a blog post about them. please send help. i've gotten myself in over my head with my own brain.

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