Saturday, 16 March 2013

Time to hit the off switch?

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the problem I was having with blogger's block.

In that post, I mentioned that I wasn't having any problems with writer's block. In fact, at the moment I seem to be having the opposite problem.

I'm not sure what you'd call it. Writer's unblock? No, too boring. Writer's diarrhea? That's kind of disgusting.

Whatever you might want to call it, it's still a problem. I just can't stop the ideas flowing. At the moment, as I've already mentioned more than a number of times, I have three works in progress:
  • The new Neville Lansdowne story
  • My detective story
  • My other YA-ish fantasy story (to be honest, I've got no idea how to categorise it).
That's three different stories that are constantly percolating through my head. Three different sets of ideas. And that's not all.

Every day, no matter what I'm doing, I'll get more ideas coming in. Ideas for long stories and short stories and stories of any length in between. When I'm sitting down to eat or travelling on the tram or (especially) when I'm trying to get to sleep, they just creep up and pounce.

I don't know what to do about them all. I try to keep records and write them all down, but I know I'll never get the chance to work on them all. And when you get so many, it gets really hard to figure out which are the good ones worth following up and which are the ones better left alone.

I need more time. I need another me, so I can get more work done. I need my brain to just slow down a bit and stop throwing all these new ideas at me.

I think what I really need is a good dose of writer's block. 


  1. A part of me’s jealous but only a part. My parents always told me I couldn’t do more than one thing at a time; the concept of multitasking was completely unknown to them. Of course we can do more than one thing at a time but, and this is the point they were really trying to make, you can’t do them well. I know you’re probably afraid that if you don’t keep all these balls in the air (or plates spinning) then you’ll lose some of them forever. In my experience good ideas stay fresh for a long time. I have a folder that I keep draft poems in and some are years old but I drag them out and potter with them pretty much at random every now and then and there isn’t one that isn’t salvageable. Make your notes—and by that I mean take the time to make proper, detailed notes—and then put the project aside. Imagine you’re a filmmaker and not a writer. Woody Allen makes one film a year and has been doing since 1965. Are you telling me he only has one idea a year? Ian Rankin, the Scottish novelist, has a green folder and all through the year he sticks notes, clippings, anything that catches his eye into this folder and come January 2nd—having sobered up after Hogmanay—he pulls out the folder and sets about his next book with no idea what it’s going to be about; there was a documentary on about his a few months back where he explained his process. In both these cases it’s a matter of being practical and cutting their cloth. You have to do the same. It’s a matter of self-control. If you come back to one of these projects in a year and find it’s going nowhere then just accept that it might not’ve been as good an idea as you thought. By then you’ll probably have another ten to replace it with anyway.

    1. Hi Jim,

      I make lots of notes. Only problem is, I need to make notes to keep track of where my notes are.

      Have a good week.