Thursday, March 3, 2011

How Do I Deal With It?

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I’ve always thought that quote could be best attributed to being in love with someone who doesn’t know you exist. Well, it can also be applied to writing. Because that’s exactly how I feel right now.

I have so many fantastic ideas (well, I like ‘em). I am head over heels in love with about 8 novel ideas right now, and they are in various stages of completion from 10k to 20k to 50k. And more crop up all the time! These are commonly called “plot bunnies,” and that’s very cute, but mine are more like “plot monsters.”

My problem? I don’t have the time, energy, and sanity to juggle that many books in my head. But what do I do? I can’t forget about them. They whine and prowl around the edges of my conscious like hungry cats. They plague me while I try to sleep. They demand my attention during important moments, like family dinners, church, and conversations with my husband.

And there are So. Many. Of. Them. This is all well and good, I mean, the more the merrier! Except … all these ideas are making it difficult for me to work on any one idea. They all want to be TOLD. They all want to be FINISHED. And they’re driving me crazy in the meantime.

I wish I knew the answer to this problem. Right now I’m trying to just plug away steadily, one book at a time. Once a story is out of my head and on the paper it leaves me alone. Until then that world full of characters and events and climaxes and emotions adds its voice to the howling. The only way to shut them up is to write them. (Hence the very apt statement you see: write or die. It’s only kidding on the square for people like me).

So I ask—does anybody else have this problem, and what do you do about it? Please share!

I am in search of an answer.


  1. Oooh, I know your pain very well. I have a little under a dozen novels plotted out in my head, all the way through, with more ideas bouncing around right alongside them. My solution: make a house in your head for the characters to live (don't ask, it works) and outline all the novels to get the ideas out there so you can come back to it later. (the stories and scenes are still in my head, but at least I have a place to put the ideas so they're out there once the outline is done.)

    Keep plugging away, though!

  2. Haha, house in my head for the characters. I love it!

  3. yeah! B.E.T. has a good idea!!!
    what i sometimes do is open a folder for the persistent ones, make notes, outlines, characters sketches... all that prewriting stuff, and put it in the folder- even write a chapter or two so that the story can get it's say a bit... then i go back to work on the one i mean to finish. maybe, if you feel like you have a place for stories and they won't be forgotten or if you feel like they're getting a little say, you can be less distracted... maybe!

  4. I do the same thing that Aspiring does. I open a folder, make notes, write a scene, whatever, and then go back to what needs to be worked on. Most of the time the plot monsters die in their files.

    Hope that helps.

  5. These are good ideas. I do make notes and outlines for new ideas, but sometimes they still won't be silence! I think it's a horrible combination of my OCD and ADHD making story soup in my head. But I will implement these ideas along with a heavy dose of self-discipline and maybe see improvement. Thanks, guys!


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