I'm still struggling with "is it right for me to start?" I don't have a job and I'm paying back college loans - so is it "right" to start a project that is not only a huge time-sapper but also not likely to bring financial stability?
I also have problems with my current character/story idea and trying to balance unique and cliché. Obviously, cliché practices work or they wouldn't become cliché. But in trying to come up with something new, what if it's too outside the box? Will that make her completely unlikable?
Oh, and dialog. I really don't feel confident in that anymore.
So, I guess to sum up, I'm psyching myself out of writing because I'm hurting financially and feel that if I commit to something it has to be perfect...and since I don't believe my idea/writing is perfect, I'm reluctant to start.
Vicki, IMHO, people should only write fiction if they simply LOVE TO WRITE. Don't think about sharing it with anyone. Don't plan to sell it (at least at first). Don't force yourself to write if it's a chore. Write simply because you have this story inside you and you spend the entire day waiting for the time you'll be able to sit down and tap it out.
I largely gave up watching TV when I started writing novels. Writing became my hobby, my free-time activity, the thing I did for fun. My first book is still unpublished, but I ENJOYED writing it. I loved the characters. I loved the story. Focus on doing what makes you happy in your spare time--if writing makes you happy, just start out by doing it for that reason. Play around with concepts in your head. Take notes so you don't lose the details of any cool ideas. Try putting your plot into an outline. Develop character sheets. Write down the cool things you just KNOW your main character would say. If these develop into a full-blown story, don't worry about making it perfect. Just get the story down and see what you end up with. I went through more than a dozen revisions of Minder before I got it published. The early drafts will be rough; that's why revisions usually take at least as long as writing first drafts.
As for clichés, you know what they say...
...seriously, though, most successful ideas are twists on existing ones. There's always a way to get a fresh take on something that's been done--just look at all the love stories out there! Heck, look at all the vampire stories out there. And there are even a whole bunch of vampire love stories! Whatever your idea is, chances are someone has already done something similar. Your story will be unique if you give it a fresh voice or a new twist.
"He's a werewolf... but his fur sparkles!"
Okay, maybe not ALL ideas are worth pursuing.
Don't sit down to write the next bestseller. Write a story that YOU would want to read. Write a story that moves YOU. Not every part of the writing process will be fun, but this part should have the swept-off-your-feet feel of new love... or possibly the I-need-my-next-fix feel of a heroin addiction.
What do the rest of you think? Please feel free to add your $0.02 in the comments below.