Sunday, October 26, 2014

Balancing Ideas (NaNoWriMo Prep #4)

I'm trying out a new editing software to make
neat little title cards for my blog posts.
Cool, huh?

A Confession: I Have Too Many Ideas

Ah, yes. It's the frustrated cry of ever author. Too many books to write, not enough time to write them. I am always being inspired to being more stories. In fact, I would say that most of the inspiration I gather is not for the story I am working on at the moment, but a future story that has yet to be realized.

Saying No For Now

A starting note, never say "No" to your story ideas. Don't totally discard them ever. If you're too busy, just promise them you'll make time later. Don't discard ideas, don't discard your writing. Know how to focus.
How I handle these pushy little ideas is to write them down.
I know it's like feeding stray cats, but write them down and put them away. Yes, they'll still nag at you, but the best thing you can do is try not to forget about them and try not to think about it too much. Who knows? They may be your best story ever. Just don't let the shiny new idea take you away from what you're working on.
Watch out about loving something
too much when you're not yet
sure about it.

Don't Love Them Too Much

There is a time and place for everything.
Again, these ideas are shiny and new. They're good at manipulating, as well. "You know that nasty plot hole you can't fix in your current story? I don't have that." "Yeah, I can see, you're getting a little sick of your protagonist there... well, I have a super cool protagonist." "You're at a really boring part in a story? Oh, what a coincidence! I open with a massively epic battle scene. Too bad you're so busy..."
Ignore them.
Don't fall too much in love just yet. Work on the story that's already in progress. Finish it. Then think about other stories. Don't become so enamored with a story you've yet to begin that you forget how good the one is that you've got.

Come Back To Them Eventually

Yes, in time, come back to those older ideas, but only the ones that really, really won't leave you alone. The ones that haunt you even after you've been slowly developing them for months and months. And then repeat the process. Don't let new ideas distract you, but slowly develop them as you go. It's a tough process, but it's about balance and focus. Every story demands attention, you've just got to learn to ration the attention.

What are your strategies for dealing with the sparkly new ideas that want to distract you so badly from what you need to be focused on?