What to Do When You Have Too Many Story Ideas

If you’re anything like me, your brain swirls ’round at a million parsecs* per hour. So it’s no surprise that story ideas bombard me at the worst times. Those times? When I’m working on another story, of course!

So what do you do? Well, you’ve got three options.

ignore-it

This option is terrible. I’m judging you for choosing this option.This is me judging you.

judging you

Who knows if you’ll ever come up with an idea like this again. Sure, maybe it’s just a kernel of an idea. Maybe it’s an electron of a kernel of an idea. Who cares? Every image can be molded into a story.

What’s to say that Shakespeare didn’t come up with the idea for Hamlet when he looked out the window and noticed a Great Dane walking beside the Avon? (Well, okay, 16th century England probably wasn’t full of Great Danes since they weren’t actually named that until 1755, but you get the point.)

write-it-down.png

Cue political ad: “I endorse this method.”

Jot every single idea down in a notebook, phone, napkin, body part, anywhere! I don’t care if it’s just a word. Of course, the more detail you write, the better.

My favorite “huh?!” note is an idea for a sketch I once had. All it said was “zebra on a bus.”

safari20metrobus20by20richard20griffin

via Oxford-Chiltern-Bus-Page.co.uk

I have no idea why that idea made me laugh. I’m sure there was something in it that made sense in the moment, but I’ll probably never remember why. Now, it serves as a good reminder to include detail with each note.

switch-projects.png

Sometimes, ideas come to us and get us so worked up we just have to work on them right away. Should you abandon that manuscript you’ve been slaving over for the last six months? Probably not. But there’s nothing that says you can’t take a break. It might even help you gain some valuable distance.

I am the poster child for juggling multiple ideas at once. Call it undiagnosed ADHD or just artist’s brain, but I can’t focus on just one project at a time. Therefore, I sometimes find it necessary to press pause on a project and start working on a new one while the fire of inspiration is burning bright.

Obviously, this course of action is not a great idea when you are working on deadline. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Whatever path you take, just keep writing!!

*Yes, I know a parsec is a unit of distance.

han-shot-first

 

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