What to do if I have too many ideas?
This is a question I got on my writing board a few days ago. I believe it is a question that many writers have, simply because we’re creative types and many, many things can trigger a story seed. And of course, our active mind explores those ideas and wooosh! – a new story is born.
And awful. Because chances are, we’re not done with another idea we had. Or the one from yesterday. Or the awesome series that I plotted last weekend.
Pure idea overwhelm.
And the flip side of that is procrastination.
Because not being able to choose which idea to follow effectively protects us from having an idea fail on us. Or having to actually write that darn thing.
Fortunately, there is a way to deal with this in a clever way. All you need is an ideas folder on your computer or a beautiful notebook.
(The picture above shows mine. It’s a large – A4 – notebook with a magnetic clasp. I totally adore it and enjoy entrusting ideas to it.)
Then you have to take two steps:
1. Spend an hour or two with that new idea seed.
Write it all out. Plot a little if that comes to you. Sketch a character or some world detail that pops into your mind. Write down any sentence that pulls your heartstrings. Enjoy this time to explore that idea. Allow yourself that time – it will really scratch that creative itch.
And then go back to your current project. Finish it. Get it published.
2. Decide on which project to focus on and complete it before choosing another.
This is the hard part, because so many factors influence that choice. However, you need to make it because this is where you become a writer in the full sense.
Because you’re not just a writer, you’re also a businessperson. You see, if you’re a writer, you’re automatically the head honcho of your writing career. And that means handling business. Which in turn means that your decision about your next writing project will influence your business, your income and your visibility as writer.
So here are a few questions to ponder while choosing the next project:
– Does the story speak to my heart right now?
– Are more ideas flowing in that fill any gaps?
– Is the plot substantial or does it need tons of work?
– How much time will this idea take?
– Is it novel sized, a whole series or just a quick short story that I can easily place?
– What’s happening in my genre, would the story fit or draw nice interest?
– Is this idea worth spending my time on right now?
That should give you more clarity on which project will be the most fun and also help your career as writer. Choose wisely.
Does this help?
Which project did you choose?
(No need to go into detail, this is just to give you a bit of accountability, and inspire other readers.)
Image Source: F. Moebius
PS: I coach writers on many different levels. If you’re interested in getting support in your writing career, your projects or about plot or character development, click HERE, send off that email and we’ll chat about how I can support you best.
Wonderful post! So true what you said about writers procrastinating because of idea overwhelm. I also like the idea of some focused attention on any new idea for a designated period of time to see where it leads. That also keeps the idea from disappearing from your memory, because they can if you don’t write them down right away. Choosing one to follow through on to completion is much tougher, as you said, but necessary if you are to progress.
Glad it helps you, Renee!
Yes, I think it’s important to value an idea, and to give it enough attention so you can come back to it.
Also, you don’t have to follow through one idea to the bitter end before you can start another one – it’s okay to switch between projects, as long as you’re comfortable with finishing them eventually.