Having lots of story ideas is an author’s dream, well I guess I have the dream creative life then, because I have more ideas than I can handle!
But it is not nice to be like this, having more ideas than I can reasonably write! How do I manage being like this? I have noticed there is not much literature on people who are overloaded with ideas, but there is plenty literature on how to try and get them!
For me personally, I have learned that I can’t write enough to get every idea down on paper, even writing more than one paragraph about the idea is a challenge at times!
How I manage the best ideas;
I keep a bullet point journal about the general ideas; usually just one sentence per idea as a trigger to remembering, so that later on in the day, usually just before I go to sleep, I write a further paragraph or two in an ideas folder.
I have to say, I am often brutal with my ideas, ideas come and go quite quickly for me and not all of them are worthy of note! Weirdly enough most of the ideas come when I am on the toilet, in the bath or at a busy café!
I have ideas that are not even for my favourite genres to write, many times I discard ideas because I feel that their plots are too complicated for me or requires much more research than I am willing to do on a new subject I know nothing about! Believe me, I am not in any need for further research material, I read mostly non-fiction these days as it is!
This past week alone I have had six entirely new ideas come and so far, only two have survived further summaries. Those two were of the genre I write, three of the others were not of my genre and one other was way too technological – as we all know technology is not my strong point!
The ideas that remained were another dragon story and a comedy vampire story.
The ideas I discarded were an Italian romance story, a story based on the life of a rabbit, a story that seemed too similar to the plot of a recent book review I watched on YouTube and the complicated story was a space opera.
You can’t hoard all these ideas if you are sure you are not going to write them!
I firmly believe in Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea in Big Magic; ideas are alive, they have souls, they are like ghosts of stories that want to exist, they flow from person to person seeing who’d write them and if they decide not to write them, they flow onto people they know who might.
This doesn’t mean that a person steals another person’s idea; most of the time people don’t even know that those ideas are in people’s heads – because a lot of creative people are closely guarded by what they merely think about. Especially if they do not know that they are not going use those ideas.
But it is strange how many times a person has claimed that a story their friend has wrote, was weirdly an idea that they had had for a long time but didn’t take the plunge. I too, have found this!
In fact the more creative friends I make, the more ideas I seem to get and it is not because of a feedback of ideas they talk about (because most of them don’t), it is usually about the ones they don’t talk about! Elizabeth Gilbert explains this phenomenon in Big Magic, if you haven’t read the book I strongly recommend it!
Because of this book, I have learned not to get so uppity and upset when people write things I wanted to write, but didn’t – it’s not copyright theft if they really genuinely didn’t know that you thought of it first – the ideas just got fed up waiting on you as an agent for their life!
However in the past I have got upset over this, purely because ideas were shared with trusted members of the family and they were literally sold to the highest bidder – usually for a crate of wine or a new computer and then I get to see my books on film after all a couple of years later. Missing out all of the time, Bitter? Of course, because it happened a lot through that relative! Some of those ideas were actually near the point of being sent to agents, it was the last draft when I discovered the damage that happened yet again.
Thankfully those people are out of my life, but unfortunately it has made me afraid to share too much with anyone. I say only vaguely what my stories are about, but I am not inclined to go to writers clubs anymore, in case strangers do the same thing. I can’t lose my hard work again and again, it is soul destroying!
My ideas folder is thicker than a dictionary.
I get ideas flooding me at intervals that happen as frequent as every six months on average, they come for two or three weeks completely disrupting my life like some violent storm and they can come at first in around five the first week and blow up to be as many as twenty near the end of their flow, generally totalling around forty to fifty ideas by the end of the event.
How many of those ideas do I actually write?
I write towards approximately six to ten stories a season, but finish them entirely, usually not… I tend to pause for a year or two at chapter seventeen; there is something about chapter seventeen that seems to do that to me. Because my pauses are lengthy, most stories take an average of three years to write, because pauses like that are necessary for me.
There was one very rare occasion, I think it was 2017 – 2018 NaNoWriMo, I can’t remember which, where I was approximately five chapters away from finishing a novel in a month, that for me, was record timing!
It is a habit I am trying to get into, have been trying to get into since 2016. I want to write all of my novels in one month, they need life.
I feel like some sort of literary Dr Frankenstein, these books must have life, life you hear! LIFE!
I haven’t recounted my unfinished works since 2017, back then my unfinished works were seventy six with a further two hundred un-started, synopsis stage other works.
At present there are four near to finished works and two finished works that are pending an extensive review and potential rewrite.
I am far more organised than I used to be and funnily enough, I believe that I am becoming a faster writer when I do write.
I haven’t written much lately because I am beginning to get apathetic about everything regarding life as there are some serious health problems cropping up where I am unsure of my future at present.
I am determined to do NaNoWriMo this year for my sanities sake, but I can’t tell what will happen until those emergency hospital appointments are done and dusted and another health problem is confirmed or denied… hopefully denied, or else, well… let’s just say; I won’t have much of a career in writing if it’s confirmed.
Happy reading everyone!