We have all heard of writer’s block in which an author is blocked/loses the capacity to produce new work. Some of us may have experienced this stagnation of writing. In addition, you know the frustration of trying to work through the block to get the ideas and writing flowing.
What happens if you have the opposite of writer’s block?
Pat Mason, a bestselling award-winning author and one of my best friends, said recently “I have the opposite problem of writers’ block. I have way too many ideas- like idea avalanche and not enough focus.”
I know what she means. Often I go through bursts of both writer’s block and idea avalanche.
Recently, I had an idea for a young adult trilogy. The characters are already talking to me. The heroine’s goal motivation and conflict are forming. Her love interests are taking shape. Subplots and settings are weaving their way into my mind. This is great, isn’t it?
Yes, it is.
But no, it is not.
I am in the middle of writing a mainstream cozy mystery series, as well as being under tight deadlines finishing two short stories for anthologies. So no- not good timing. I am overwhelmed with writing commitments and cannot handle another idea. Too many ideas can make me feel as frustrated as not enough.
What do you do when this happens?
For example, Mason works through her overabundance of ideas in her own way. “Often I write a few stories at one time, which result in nothing at all getting completed. Although I don’t recommend this, if I have a story idea I try to type up whatever is in my head, whether it is a plotline, a character, dialogue and put it in a document in my work in progress file on my laptop. But the problem with that is that nothing gets done. So I have to pick one and not allow myself the luxury of getting distracted by a new shiny idea until I type the end of my current project.”
One novel at a time seems to work for me. Although, I often work on posts and short stories at the same time. Writing one novel at a time helps keep me focused on all of the characters, plotlines etc. However, I do have a spiral bound notebook in which I jot down shiny new ideas. I use it as Mason uses her work in progress folder on her computer. Because I don’t want to lose the ideas, yet I don’t have the time to do anything with them right away.
Your turn, WG2E-Land: Do you have times of both writers block and idea avalanche? What do you do with either?
The Best of Idea Avalanche Wishes — Lois Lavrisa