Photo by Mikhail Pavstyuk for Unsplash.com
This week, I ran across a question on Facebook from an Indie author who was feeling a bit overwhelmed because she had several story ideas for books running around in her head at the same time and just couldn’t seem to pick just one.
Welcome to the wonderful world of writing!
“I can’t possibly write them all, but I don’t want to lose the ideas!” She plaintively asked, “Which one should I focus on?”
Well, I had to ask myself, “Whoever said that an author has to limit themselves to working just one story at a time?”
Here’s my advice:
Start drafting whichever story calls to you the most, but don’t ignore the other two concepts completely... If you’re getting ideas for other stories, go ahead and start the individual drafts by sticking to a simple outline format for the meantime. I call these preliminary works my “Back-Pocket Novels”, and I sometimes have as many as 5-6 story ideas that I work on all at my leisure, adding story ideas and character lines to these rough drafts whenever Lady Inspiration strikes.
The benefit to setting up your future books as outlines/drafts is undeniable... Whenever a new idea comes up... Poof! Pop it in the draft. Before you know it, you’ve got your next novel, and—with just a little spit and polish—it’s well on its way to publication!
Just remember that writers are just that... Writers. And like the true artists they are, real writers cannot—and should not ever—be limited to just one work at a time. Michelangelo... Picasso... Da Vinci... All the greats had studios chock-full of sketches, statues, and paintings, all in various stages of development. These icons of creativity worked on their projects whenever they were inspired to do so, while other, lesser inspired works, still sit unfinished, but can be seen in museums around the world today. Think about it... Even though these works are incomplete, they inspire genius and creativity in others, and stand as shining examples of human imagination to this very day!
The important thing to know about writing is to not get bogged down in just one story, especially if you have other plotlines and characters constantly trying to break in your current train of thought. Believe me, these pesky voices won’t back down easily, especially if you’re having writer’s block or troubles with your current storyline. Sure, they’re distracting, but they deserve to be heard. They can also be lost forever if you don’t pay them any mind.
The best way to handle a flurry of story ideas is to listen to your Muse—That inner voice that tells you what and when to write. When it’s time to work, always go with whichever story is speaking to you in the moment and record your impressions.
Capture your inspiration on your iPhone Notes, send yourself a text or email, or jot it down on a piece of paper, but whatever you do, don’t miss it. Seize those ideas before they get away and record them so you can work on your next great novel later—At least until that other rude story rears its head and butts into your current storyline again!
Happy writing, my friends!
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