Ooh. Oh, man! You’ve copped a whopper of an urge to write. Your Muse has gotten stuck into the coffee and now there’s no shutting up. Ideas are flowing out of your head like water from a hydrant – unrestrained, spilling out all over the place.
What you’ve got here is the opposite to the accursed and often lamented ‘Writer’s Block’. Rather than being starved for ideas, you’ve got too many. So you should be stoked, right?
Take it easy
Yes, be thankful. It could be worse. Hella worse. If you’ve never had a bad case of Writer’s Block, then just trust me on that.
It’s a fine thing, having ideas oozing out of your pores but wait! Wait!
Actually, don’t wait: be mindful that once the oil well has finished spewing its contents about, you’ll be back to the ol’ pump and distill routine. The stuff that’s coming out now, though, is unrestrained ethereal gold so don’t let it get away!
Write whatever you’ve got down. Or record it on your telephone’s dictation app. Or video yourself. Email to yourself. Do whatever it takes so that you can look at afterwards.
Yes, after. You know, when you’re writing your book.
Jez, you’re kidding, right? I want to use these ideas now! I gotta capitalise on this opportunity!
Don’t make them into a book, please. Make little points or scribbles or sentences. You can make them into a book later. Trust me on this.
The problem, and it is a problem, is multi-faceted:
- All the ideas that come at once don’t belong together – do more with less
- Ideas that sound wonderful now might sound absolutely awful in the cold light of analysis (Been there, done that… too many times to count)
- A good idea can become great with a little cultivating, otherwise it could be wasted
- Chase all the ideas at once, and you’ll likely follow one and neglect the rest
- Writing a book takes time and patience, not just a bunch of ideas.
It would be a tremendous mistake if you stifle your own creativity for the sake of trying to put it all into a structure, plot it out, etc.
Sure, you might have a moment of crystal clarity where you know exactly what you’re going to write and why. Great! That hardly ever happens, so run with that but, when you come up for air a few days later, the other awesome ideas have gone. They never were, and never will be again.
Here’s the thing: Ideas are like wild rabbits. They come out of their burrows at any time, and pop back down just as fast. You can seek them out, traveling down after into their warrens. You can attempt to coax them from their holes. There are many techniques that can help you do this. Once you have these ideas, though, you need to be ready to catch them!
And ‘catching’ an idea can be as simple as a little ideas book. Jot enough information to remind you of what the idea is, release it and grab the next one. Catch, tag and release. Catch. Tag. And Release!
If you tag it right, you don’t need to go hunting after it again. After you’ve exhausted your quarry, job done, relax, and know that you’ve got a pool of ideas sitting there, waiting for you to pick them up when you are ready. Oh, how the tables have turned!
Then, when you’re stuck, have a look at your little book of tags (or emails, recordings, whatever you’ve used) and scan through your list of critters to interrogate. And you know what? Those little idea-critters sure can multiply when left to themselves!