As you may or may not know, I'm working on my own chick lit novel. I'm almost finished with my first draft. Three chapters to go! I'm really excited that I'm getting closer and closer to writing "the end," which is really only the beginning. My manuscript has been untitled so far. I have a working title and some other titles that I have tossed around. Last week, I decided that I needed to finalize a title since I'm almost done with my first draft. Big mistake. Instead of actually writing, I became consumed with figuring out a title. I spent so much time scouring the Internet looking at titles of other books in the genre, reading song lyrics, looking through titles of TV show episodes, and even reading some poems. I was all over the place and what happened? I realized that a title is not going to jump out at me no matter how many love songs/break-up songs I listen to or no matter how much time I spend obsessing over this. I was trying so hard to think of something clever, but all I wound up with was a long list of mediocre titles that didn't really fit with my story. At one point, I was convinced that I had a great title. I thought it was "the one." I was so excited about it, but after a few hours, I wasn't so sure anymore. Needless to say, I've been on a roller coaster and I've been totally indecisive. All of this reminds me of when I first started writing my novel and I was choosing character names. I frequently visited Think Baby Names and tried several combinations of first names and last names until I liked all of the names together. At the time, I thought that was a long process, but it actually wasn't that difficult compared to coming up with a title.
So, what have I learned? I know now that I have to look within my own story for a title. I learned that I don't have to try so hard to be clever because when you try really hard, it never comes out as witty as you hoped. It just seems like you tried too hard. I also learned that sometimes I have to be less of a perfectionist, no matter how difficult that might be, because simplicity can actually be best. There aren't any right or wrong answers when it comes to creativity. My novel is still untitled, but that's okay... for now.
Have you had a similar experience? How did you come up with titles for your novels, short stories, poems, etc? I would love to hear about it!