Writers often get asked, ‘How do you overcome writer’s block?’
But what if you have the opposite problem? What if your head is overflowing with new ideas? That’s more the kind of writing dilemma I’m used to.
I don’t know about you, but for me a new idea is like falling in love. It’s all shiny and appealing and you want to spend time with it. Unfortunately, I usually have about 6 of these swimming around in my brain at the same time.
So, what do I do? Prioritise and reward.
First of all I prioritise my projects in the following way:
1.The ones that have existing deadlines for always come first.
2. Next I work on the ideas that I already have a publisher in mind for – ideas that I already think I can sell. Ideas that I believe have definite possibilities. Writers, after all, have to at least attempt to make a living.
3. Last, I pay attention to the sparkly new ideas that I’ve been collecting like a magpie.
For me, the sparkly, new ideas are the reward!
If I’ve just met a writing deadline, the next thing I work on is a reward project. (Providing I don’t have another tight deadline hot on its heels) My reward is to give myself permission to spend time with a new idea. It’s like a secret indulgence. When I’m working on a deadline, it spurs me on to know that I have something sparkling and focus on once I finish.
I try and work to this method, but there are always those projects and character that call to me and I find them unable to resist. The projects that make me break my own rules.
Also, I sometimes work on more than one project at a time and this can be a deliberate thing to try and provide some balance. For example, when I was researching and working on my Holocaust novel, Beyond Belief, it was deeply immersing and disturbing at the same time. To help me retain my equilibrium, writing my Eddy Popcorn books provided some welcome light relief.
This is just what works for me. All writers are different, and I’d love to hear how you deal with the ‘too many projects’ scenario.
Feel free to comment below.