1. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Multitasking. Is it good?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Taylee91, Aug 15, 2010.

    For some time now, I've been attempting to get a few of my ideas going. But then bam! Another pops into my head, and I'm off on another goose chase instead of following my first idea.

    Does this happen to anyone else? If so, do you stick with your initial story or go on with this new, exciting one?

    Thanks for all and any comments.

    T
     
  2. miss_darcy
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    miss_darcy Member

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    This happens to me all the time! What I usually do is write down that idea and put it aside because I'm focused on one thing right now. But when I get an idea that is totally different from what I'm working on I just write it down and look at it later.

    -- Darcy
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Multitasking is good. Being easily distracted is not.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write brief ideas when that happens get it out of my head then get back to my story
     
  5. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Oh yeah, completely. Getting easily distracted is a big no for sure. And yes, I write down all my ideas for stories besides the one I'm working on at that moment.

    But does anyone ever get carried away? Do you get transported into that other story and just begin to see the scenes, hear the characters' specific dialogue, and get bombarded by specific backstory facts? Maybe I have writers' ADD.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    no I don't really but I think thats part of how I am approaching my main story. When the time comes to stop writing about the planet Litae I think it will be harder. However have found a way recently that I may never have to stop lol
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This happens to every writer. It probably happens to every human being. I guess part of writing is being able to be ruthless with your own ideas - to work on what's the best, and don't bother with what's the worst. Just because an idea is new and exciting to you doesn't mean it's good - or, at least, it doesn't mean it's better than the idea you're already working on.

    I get new ideas all the time and I keep them in an ideas file. Every so often I look through my ideas file, and I find that some of them are laughable, and I feel embarrassed for ever thinking they were ever worth considering. But I sure was excited about them when I first thought of them.

    But even after rejecting the bad ideas, I still have more good ideas (or at least, ideas I think I could turn into interesting stories) than I could ever get to in my entire writing life. And new ones keep coming.

    You're not going to get to write all your ideas. You're going to have to learn to choose the best ones, and get them written and finished.
     
  8. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    It happens to me all the time, and I think it is only natural that it happens. When you are writing, creative juices, if I may, are flowing and every object that you see, any thought could spark creative ideas. It's definitely not a bad thing. But you should learn to keep the ideas for later use and first finish the task in hand (unless of course you completely ran out of ideas for the current story, or deliberately want some time away from it).

    It's like going to the mall to buy a specific shirt that you need, but when you reach the mall you see five other shirts that you like (can't help it.. you just have to look around lol). Will you buy all of them? The wise thing to do is to buy what you came to buy and take a mental note of the other shirts and buy them when you need them.
     
  9. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Yeah. I probably just need to face the music. Not every idea I have is worth going after.
     
  10. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Multitasking?

    If I were a woman, I'd answer that question.

    (And probably do six other things whilst typing my reply) ;)
     
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  11. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    I try to stick with what I a m working on, but sometimes the new story presents itself so strongly that it seems to demand to come out. When that happens, I generally go with it and write it then.
     
  12. nhope
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    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    oh yes. When this happens I just continue to write it in the story I'm writing while hoping I can tie it in somewhere. If not, when it has exhausted me if it has no relation to the current story, I'll move it to my "Scenes" folder.

    This also happens when traveling from one room to another. :redface:
     
  13. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Yeah, I go with my gut too. But then my stories vie against each other. Crap....this is rough to do;)
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am terrible I don't keep junked ideas lol I just write and then delete:)
     
  15. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Having multiple stories in the pipeline is fine. Among other things, some pro writers have said that they like to have one part of their brain in the middle of a story, another part racing for the climax and denouement, and a third bouncing around happily with the shiny-new beginning of a third story. This means they work on a novel and two short stories at the same time, working on each for a couple of hours every day, and if they're tired and don't feel like happy bouncy shiny newness they can just spend six or eight hours working on the middle of a piece instead.

    One story, possibly apocryphal, claims that Asimov had three typewriters in his house, each in the middle of a different story. If he hit a dead end with one story, he'd just work on a different one.

    Now, many writers discover very quickly that ideas are worth their weight in gold. (Think about that for a moment.) People get ideas all the time, and it's a good idea to fiddle around with them, to figure out which ones have caught your interest.

    The danger is getting so caught up in the new story that you don't finish the first one. Only you can determine whether you are likely to do that. But one way to test it is to give yourself a deadline -- say, two weeks. Work on one story (and write down the idea in case you get a new idea and have to come back to your story). If an idea strikes you for a different story, pursue it. (Again, write down a summary in case you get distracted.) If a third idea hits you...

    By the end of the two week period, check your work. Have you finished any stories? If you finished a tangent-idea story, did you then go back and finish one of the stories you were working on before?

    If you are having trouble finishing stories, then that tells you all you need to know. In that case, get a journal and write down a summary of the new story idea. Then close the journal, sit back down and finish the first story before you hare off after the next one.

    But if you do manage to finish multiple stories that way, then obviously multitasking works for you.
     
  16. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Thank you, HeinleinFan. I'll try the dead line approach. Maybe that will help me sift through the chaos I find myself in at times.
     
  17. stubeard
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    stubeard Active Member

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    Orange Prize-winning author Rose Tremain once wrote: "Never begin the book when you feel you want to begin it, but hold off a while longer."

    To elaborate: think of a book like a person with whom you might want to get into a relationship. The slower you take it and the more you get to know them before going fully into it, the more likely the relationship will last. If you jump from new thing to new thing, often diving into a relationship with someone about whom you know very little, you'll never have anything that lasts, and may end up with someone with whom you are not compatible.


    Of course you should not ignore ideas that come to you, but just write a basic synopsis down, leave it for a couple of months, then come back to it and see if you really still want to write it. That way you'll know you can stick it out to the end.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    see what minstrel and manav had to say on the first page of the thread... i'd ditto that...
     
  19. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Thanks guys. I'll just try to focus on one thing, not a gazillion other things. The only problem is: which one? Heh, heh;)
     
  20. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    Did you know that multitasking, strictly speaking, is not possible? The human mind can't do two things at once. Women are merely better at switching to new tasks quickly. It gives the illusion of multitasking when in fact it is merely "plate spinning" different tasks.
     
  21. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always have a minimum of three projects going at any given time. No, I don't actually write them all at the same time but I always have at least three in various stages of completion. That way, when I get blanked on one, another may call to me and I start working on that one.

    By the same token, when I get a 'most scathingly brilliant idea' for another ms, I choose one of two routes. If it is something that bids me write it, I will fill up a page or two on my computer, open a new file for it in my manuscripts directory, and save it for when I am ready to actually work on it - which could be another two years or more! My other option, if it is a great idea but I just don't have the energy to pursue pursuing it, I merely reconcile myself to the fact that I will never be able to write every story for which I have an idea - no matter how good the concept/idea may be. Though I will admit, there have been times when I have wished I had made notes on some of those too-quickly relinquished ideas.

    After spending a minute, or an hour, or a day laying the ground work for a future project, I just go back to my previous work and sharpen my nose against the literary grindstone.
     
  22. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Yeah, exactly. What I do is right down whatever my mind wants to throw out there on the page. Then, after a while, and when I'm running dry on new, fresh ideas, I switch back to my main concern.
     

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