Yeah, that didn't work. On my journey to discover who I am as a writer, I can just go ahead and eliminate writing-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, without having any idea what's next.
After writing the littlest bit, I was so lost and directionless that I had to stop to at least try to figure out who my main character was. I did have an idea that seemed pretty good, possibly. I thought about it for a few days, and started to get into the idea, even though a few nagging doubts plagued me. I never know whether to listen to nagging doubts, and am pretty bad at distinguishing which ones are valid and which are neurotic and self-defeating. Both kinds seem equally strident, frankly.
Knowing that I can trust my husband to give me his honest opinion, I explained my character(s) and the outline of the plot. He listened carefully, and then pointed out that this was basically the exact same plot and virtually the same characters as my novel.
Still, I thought about it for a couple of days. What does he know, anyway? Maybe my novel was just sort of a warm-up exercise, and this was the improved version I was meant to write. Maybe with a few well-chosen changes this would be a completely different story, and worth writing. I imagined various scenarios and tried to let the characters speak to me.
Nope, he was right. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was all surface and no depth.
As I mentioned, I have two other ideas floating around, and once again I tried focusing on them. The first, a novel about a woman who murders someone, just kind of waved at me from the back corners of my mind, but wasn't interested in coming out yet. The second, a young adult novel about a teenage lesbian living in a small town, just jumped right out at me and started yelling. Sweet! Oh, the terribly detailed character sketches and outline I'm going to make... Joy :)
I feel really excited about this one, and details are coming to me quickly. And, at least for now, the self-defeating neurotic voices have shut the hell up.