New ideas can spring up like weeds. Not weeds, wildflowers. There is nothing “weedy” about new ideas. As a writer friend noted, “new ideas are such shiny, pretty objects, aren’t they!” They are indeed. When you are working on a project and you’ve got ten more in the queue then another pops into your brain, you want to run to it, embrace it and give it love. It’s a siren calling to you. But no. You must stay focused on the current project, the one that’s lost its shine because you are working it, because it isn’t new, it’s lived so long in your conscience.
ONE AT A TIME
Recently, I shared a new idea with my husband, and he responded with, “can’t you just finish one before coming up with new ones?” Well, no. I can’t help what my brain does. If it wants to grow a field of wildflowers, I have to let it. I can only hope that when I am ready to pick one, it hasn’t gone to seed yet. If only I could write them all at once!
Alas! That isn’t how it works. Keep a running list, a file folder, cover your wall with post-it notes. Whatever it takes. Don’t forget your ideas. Just leave them to age like wine in the far recesses of your mind and keep working on your current project. However, if something comes to you clear as day, write it down! Don’t lose that thought!
In my experience, people love to talk about writer’s block, especially people who are not writers. Writer’s block is not a thing if you show up everyday. When you show up to the page, the writing will come. It may not be great every time but that is why we edit. And writer’s block never happens in regards to coming up with new ideas, at least not for me. If anything, I have too many. Writer’s block, if we must call it that, happens when you are deep in the middle of it. When you’ve been working an idea for a long time and you reach a point where you just don’t know what happens next. Breathe. Talk to your characters; ask them! Get the words on the page no matter what. Then, if you need to, take a break from the project and maybe concentrate on one of your other ideas for a while. What matters is that you write.
VALUE YOUR IDEAS
All ideas have value. Even bad ideas can lead somewhere when you pay attention. Save your ideas like pennies in a piggy bank. Save them up and use them when you are ready. Pick your wildflowers and appreciate the joy of creation!