Decisions, Decisions

Jessie: Still in New Hampshire, at least until the school year ends…

It’s a good thing I think he is cute!

A lot of things about being a writer and the writing process have surprised me over the years. The joy of purposeful creative pursuits, the pleasure of engaging with other writers, the tax write-offs allowed at office supply stores. But one thing I still find I haven’t gotten used to is the decision making.

When you write a book or a short story or even a blog post, there are a lot of decisions involved. There are the over-arching ideas, sub-plots, verb choices and the cadence of the dialogue. There are the plot points, main points and exclamation points. Every single thing requires a decision either large or small.

I turned in a book on June 1, and while I think of myself as a very decisive person, I am still wrung out from the simple act of choosing things again and again in order to complete it. Since then, when I am hungry I find myself staring into the open fridge without the ability to pick something to eat. I didn’t get out of my pajamas all day yesterday simply because I could not make myself select anything else to wear as I peered into my closet.

I thought I had at least managed to make a decision when it came to a new knitting project. I had started a zippy green pair of socks for a dear friend but Sampson, the poodle puppy, got ahold of the first one while it was under construction and not only yanked off most of the stitches but also snapped two of the four required knitting needles. I don’t seem to have any others that same size and cannot for the life of me decide to order a new set.

At the beginning of August the lease is coming due on my car and I have to decide what to choose as a replacement. All I can say is that I sincerely hope I’ve recovered enough by then to make a decision!

Readers, do you have trouble with decisions? Writers, do you get worn out at any part in the writing process? Everyone, any recommendations for a car?

26 Thoughts

  1. I can relate to a lot of this. Sometimes I wait until the last minute to decide on something simply because I can’t decide. I have no car advice, but I hope you enjoy whatever you choose!

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  2. Some quality time at the beach is going to help a lot with this, I think! As I am noodling a new series idea, I’m faced with WAY too many choices. They are critically important at the nascent stage of world building, as you well know. I have every confidence you’ll find the choices you need. As for a car? You can’t go wrong with a Prius or a Prius C, and you’re giving a gift to the environment, too.

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    1. I expect that you are right about the beach, Edith! New series do present lots of choices, don’t they? When I am not refiling the creative well after a deadline I love the decisions! I hope that your choices are fun for you!

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  3. I listen to the voices in my head. Really (and sometimes I answer them). I think that our subconscious brain keeps chewing over all those writing issues while our everyday brain is busy picking out potatoes and pot roast at the supermarket. The “Aha!” moments are unpredictable, but they often fit well.

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  4. I usually let my characters do the deciding. Takes a lot of stress off me. 🙂

    I second Edith’s suggestion of a Prius – have loved both of mine. But if you are looking to lease, Toyota does not offer good lease terms (at least not here in PA).

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    1. It is amazing that characters take on lives of their own. I agree with Liz; listen to them.
      I used to be paralyzed by worrying over decisions, but it is like any other procrastination: fear of the possibility of failure sets you up for automatic failure, the very thing you are hoping to avoid. From reading you, I can’t imagine that whatever you choose could be that wrong, and trust one when I say that not one thing is ever completely right, but making not one choice is generally wrong.
      Please look in your Messenger message requests; I have someone’s posts who may help you.

      I have not been in the position to choose cars. Used one choose me.

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  5. I would suggest that any decisions you can put off for now, do so. You can put reminders on your calendar if needed. Once you have gotten back your decider-oomph, then tackle them. That may leave you enough energy for the ones that can’t wait.

    Or try delegating, where appropriate, the decision… provided you can live with someone else’s choice.

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  6. I always describe the process of writing as a process of making smaller and smaller decisions. It starts with “What is this book about?” and ends with “Exactly what time on the night of the murder did suspect 3 enter and leave the room?” You are always making decisions, consciously or subconsciously. And it can be exhausting.

    So spend the day in your pajamas and refuel. I know you well enough to know you’ll be happily buried in a writing project soon.

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  7. I am the world’s most indecisive person. I think. Maybe. And the few times I’ve played around with a story idea, I’ve realized just how many decisions you have to make. It’s one of the things that terrifies me about writing.

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  8. This is so funny. I used to teach a workshop called “Decisions, Decisions” with the premise that a mystery is a series of bad decisions–by the characters, not the author! Every act requires a decision.

    I am pretty good at most decisions, except for “Where do you want to go to dinner?” Then my brain seizes.

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    1. It’s always a balance between having characters make bad decisions, and having them be that annoying colleague or family member who always makes bad decisions to the point that you’re aggravated with them. I’ve noticed that the main characters in my short stories are almost always very isolated–partner-less, sibling-less, friend-less orphans–because I need to manuever them into situations where anyone who had anyone in their lives they confided it would have been told, “You’re doing WHAT? You have GOT to be kidding. STOP it right now.”

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  9. Agatha Christie used to take walks in the garden. I suggest long drives, going somewhere to be waited on, a day or two off to let it all gel! And a half gallon of ice cream or a good bottle of wine or both!

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  10. Oh, Jessie, I sympathize! I’m at the decision phase, too, and usually resort to long walks, but I turned an ankle yesterday while mowing so I’m on temporary house arrest. (One more reason to let the grasses grow!) Good luck!

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  11. It’s always been hard for me to make decisions. Once I poured over a daylily catalog so long that the promotion was over by the time I called. On the Color Code, I’m a White and I’m a Libra so I tend to weigh all the options way too long. I’m a little better now that I am older and by myself. It was nicer when I had family to help make decisions. Best to have priorities like figuring out what to eat is important, and when to clean, not so much!

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