1. LauraHanson1223
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    LauraHanson1223 New Member

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    Too many ideas and not enough fingers or time to write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by LauraHanson1223, May 10, 2015.

    How does one stop the flow of ideas?
    Or maybe, a better question, how does one save up the ideas, and keep the motivation to write them, in order to write them later?
    I have the issue of wanting to write WAY too many stories, so I write the idea, make a rather complex plot, create unique and individual characters - but when it comes to writing time, I lose the motivation to write, I see the plot as trash, the characters as dull and boring, and the idea as bland and overused.
    I want to keep the motivation to write these stories, not lose it once I'm ready to start writing. But more than that, I simply want a good idea to write about. I always trash and throw away ALL my ideas, I haven't stuck to one (yet), and it's starting to make me feel like a bad writer. The ideas come to me when I simply turn on the TV and see something, or listen to thirty seconds of a song, hell, reading other peoples' books or watching a movie and even looking outside! I get ALL THESE IDEAS, but I just don't have the time, enough fingers, nor the motivation to write them after a few weeks pass.
    How do I fix this? Is there such a thing as too imaginative? Or is it simply that I'm not able to focus long enough to stick to an idea?
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It might sound a bit rough, but probably you don't know how to write a story. We tend to over-emphasize the "ideas" stage, I think, and under-emphasize all the hard work that's involved in actually turning those ideas into stories.

    I don't mean to say your ideas aren't valuable. They are. A good idea is absolutely the start of a good story. But it's the first, like, 5% of the job, and it's probably the most fun 5%.

    So now that you have a bunch of ideas, you need to learn what to do with them. You might want to pick one that seems fairly simple and straightforward and try to write a short story based on it. You'll have to figure out the structure and the characters and the setting, but you'll also have to work on the discipline of just writing it. Finish something, even if you don't think it's any good, and then look at it and try to figure out how to make it better. And when you've made it as good as you can, pick another idea and make yourself finish writing it.

    You know that old "1% inspiration, 99% perspiration" line? It's time for you to start sweating!
     
  3. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I'm sort of the opposite, where things come to me to slowly -- or so it feels. However, maybe the same way a pantser should go back and edit after writing chapters with no planning, you could try to treat the next step as editing the plan. Keep all the elements that occured to you as strong and rework the ones that seem cliche or stale. I know more about psych than creative writing so I feel like I should say that you shouldn't try to radically change your process, just go back and try to spend the time to improve the plan. But to play devil's advocate I'll leave a quote I recently read:

    When I have an idea, I turn down the flame, as if it were a little alcohol stove, as low as it will go. Then it explodes and that is my idea.

    -- Hemingway
     
  4. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    Maybe your problem is not sitting down to write when the idea hits you. It sounds to me like you're writing down a summary of the idea when it comes to you so that you don't forget it, but you're telling yourself you'll actually write the story later. When is later?

    Why not right now? If you can find the time to sit down and write out the summary, why not start the first chapter? If you wrote on it a little every day, it could help you stay focused.

    And more than that, if you're thinking about this one story every day, writing on it a little every day, all those ideas you're having are more likely to also circle around this story. Things you see that inspire you in your every day life, you'll find they somehow connect to the story you're already making progress on. "Oh such and such reminds me of this character." "Oh, that's a great idea, I could stick that in as a subplot to this." The idea phase won't disappear. The creativity part of your book isn't over. It'll just be more focused now on one story in particular.

    At least that's been my experience.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
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  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Pick an idea that excites you the most, that you know has a basic beginning, middle, and end. An idea that you can at least tolerate writing about for 40,000+ words.

    This is the not-fun part of writing. The actual writing. It's fun and awesome to sit down and come up with story ideas, but the actual work is to write. At the beginning it sucks, believe me. Right now I've 300+ words in both my fantasy and historical mystery and 500+ words in my sci-fi, and there's a part of me that's wondering why I'm even doing this. But I'm doing it because they've been in my head for nearly a decade, if not more. Right now I'm making myself write these stories. I'm picking a time, an hour at most, to sit down and write at least 300+ words in each of them because I would really like them out of my head. In time I'll get into the habit, but right now I have to force myself through the horrible lines and crappy paragraphs and prose and painfully predictable plotlines. It's tough, I don't know how professional writers do this for a living. Guess you just get used to it. Hopefully once they're done, I will finally have room for newer, better stories to write.

    In any case, write now; don't wait to write a few weeks later. That's what I did and before I knew it, 2004 became 2015. Write now. Keep a journal of story ideas, they'll always be there. Choose an idea that interests you the most and stick with it. Don't worry about how sucky it sounds, it's the first draft. My sci-fi and fantasy sounds like just about every other sci-fi and fantasy novel out there. Hell, even my historical mystery sounds bland and boring to me (wow, a blind detective, how original!!) First drafts are supposed to suck. :D Just pick 1-3 story ideas and make them complete manuscripts!
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm with the others you need follow through. Pick an idea. Write a first draft. Polish. Once you get into the habit of finishing something you'll see how much effort it takes and that not every idea is story worthy - sometimes it's worth a flash pieces or nothing at all. Sometimes it's worth jotting something down for future work sometimes it's not.
    Planning is not the time to decide whether or not a story stinks, or to ditch it. Because no idea will ever stand out as the one or this is great - worse, what if it did ( stand out to you as great ) and yet everyone else thinks it's lousy.
    Ideas are nothing without context.
    Write first, that way you can work with what you got. How can you decide whether or not a character is boring if they're not actually in a scene doing anything?
     
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  7. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    My advice is going against the grain, but I want to offer an alternative point of view. It sounds like you are having a lot of ideas, but you are not following through. Forget about the writing stage for now. If you write, paint, create music, construct or design as a career, this is the process I believe you should follow:

    First ideas> research > Brainstorm/spider chart > develop > feedback > revise> develop > final solution > edit

    James Dyson didn't just have an idea to build a vacuum cleaner and then build it. He researched, developed and refined, he found something unique, and combined ideas. The same can be said for Steve jobs, he didn't just have an idea to make a computer. He took ideas, and combined them, like a mouse, an idea Xerox came up with.

    Here is another example:

    Idea 1 : a cop chases down a gang of criminals

    Idea 2 : cars can fly, future city- combination of cultures

    Idea 3: humans battle against robots

    Idea 4 : a man has doubts about his own desires and existance and questions them

    Idea 5 : scientific test that identifies difference in people - racism?

    Each idea is the start of something, a story, but just how many words could you write before you become stuck? Mix the ideas together and you might just end up with blade runner.
     
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  8. Chris Jomm
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    Chris Jomm New Member

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    I know the feeling! I have a bunch of ideas. Sometimes I just write them down or sketch out what I'd do with them, but yeah I usually only work on one project at a time. Sometimes, in my idea folder, I find a way to combine my ideas for one story. But you'll definitely have to temper this with discipline. If you set a goal for yourself, you'll find that it's not so hard. My original goal was to write 1000 words a day, and that's really not hard at all if you outline your stories. Good luck! Get to writing!
     
  9. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ever heard of Fort Minor? They wrote a song called 'Remember the name'

    One of the very few rap songs I like. The chorus goes...

    "This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
    Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!"
     
  10. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I say this a million times, but writing is like a muscle. I think, at first, many of us want to write for the wrong reasons. Writing because you have an idea, or because you want to make a bestseller, might not be enough to get you to the finish line. LOVING to write makes the difference. I think most (not all) professionals genuinely like what they do. As you force yourself to write, you should start to like it more. You should be building "writing muscle."


    If you're more or less a normal person, and you're still at the "idea phase" of your writing track, I'm willing to bet you have a long way to go towards achieving good, strong writing. The longer you stay at the idea phase (and I consider never finishing a rough draft of anything to be well stuck in the idea phase), the longer you sit at the starting line. Make no mistake, the "idea phase" is very real. I went through it, and enough people have posted the very same problem as the one you have, for me to know that others go through it as well. Your issue is a normal one. But only you can push yourself to get things rolling.

    @Link the Writer
    You seem like a smart, eager guy. Please stick to buffing up those word counts.
     
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  11. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Planning, research, character sheets, even outlining (at times) are all ways of not writing the story. Pick one idea and write the thing. Finish it. Then pick another idea and write the thing. Finish it. Rinse and repeat. Remember, you're not going to write the Great American Novel on your first try (or maybe even your tenth or 100th) - and you sure as hell aren't going to write it if you don't even start. Anybody can have ideas - writers do something with them.
     
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  12. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    They will be buffed up! :D Describing scenes seem to be my weak point, so I'll work on that. :p Off I gooooo!
     
  13. m.j.kane
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    m.j.kane Member

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    Just pick an idea and write!
    Before each session be confident, be excited, be enthusiastic, be brave, and believe.
    Try your best to have faith when your writing takes you to scary places you haven't planned on.
    Stephen King once compared writing a novel to crossing an ocean in a bathtub. A huge deal is about blind faith.

    Good ideas can be your downfall as much as having bad ideas can.
    Sometimes an idea lingers in your mind so long that it can feel sacred. You feel intimidated by the scale and awesomeness of your own idea that you never render it into reality. But the secret is that ideas are cheap. Think of ideas as the Hydra heads from Greek Mythology. Everytime you chop a head off, more emerge in its place. Never be intimidated to write a great idea, be brave and make that idea your bitch. More will come.
     
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  14. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    If I get a lot of ideas at one time I write them all down and file them away for safe keeping then later when I have writers block I look at all the ideas that I filed away and I see if one of them would make a good story.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
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