Like the Making of a Pearl

I just had a very strange idea. I don’t know what inspired it, but it reminds me of the way a pearl is created. A pearl starts with something irritating in the shell of an oyster. Little by little, calcium carbonate is laid down over the irritation until a pearl is formed. At least, that’s the general idea.

My idea was probably born of frustration, which is a kind of irritation. The frustration comes from having so many stories in some stage of incompletion, and knowing that some of them are simply going to languish until I have time to get to them, maybe not for years. That frustration means that every now and then, I’ll jump into one of those languishing stories and add a bit to it. The keyword/expression is “every now and then.” But what if I did that on a regular basis, as part of my normal writing day? What if I devoted half an hour or an hour a day to randomly running through my stories and adding whatever I could? Eventually, one by one, they’d all be complete, maybe much sooner than if they had to wait for my full attention.

The idea fits my grasshopper mind perfectly. Even when I’m in the obsessive throes of working on a major project, my thoughts wander to those WIPs and I feel the frustration that makes me want to allow myself to be sidetracked for a while. I love the notion that I could be creating pearls.

3 thoughts on “Like the Making of a Pearl

  1. I like this, and may give it a try. One of my problems, however, is that when I go through old projects I fall into them–to the exclusion of other things. I discovered this fault many years ago when I invited a couple of friends to help me go through several boxes of notes and partially formed ideas.
    It turned out that they could easily do the job, but me? Nope. I’d get sucked into one idea after another.

    1. Oh yes. I know exactly what you mean. More and more, I’m finding that when I’m deeply immersed in a project or two, it isn’t so tempting to go swanning off with others. It’s fairly easy to bop around, dropping in a paragraph here or a few sentences there. Sometimes, it’s enough just to jot down some notes and move on to something else. I suppose it’s partly a developmental thing, my working methods evolving over time. For someone who’s more disciplined than I am, it can be a decision to do it that way and then just doing it.

  2. I’ve got the opposite of ADD; I have OCD–obsessive compulsive disorder. Tunnel vision — worry warts. When I start, I can’t stop, can’t leave it alone, won’t quit until the resolution appears.

    It’s actually a big psychological hurdle for me to move from one chapter to the next–a form of self-induced therapy to NOT start at the beginning–to not work out every little detail.

    One cure that I’ve found is to stop at midpoint, leaving a little work and ideas to ponder for the next day.

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