It happens to the best of us: we’re just minding our own business, typing away, and BOOM: new idea. It’s a good one. And we really want to forget about whatever we’re working on and give all our attention to this new thing in our heads.
Take a deep breath. You don’t have to abandon what you’re working on for the sake of one new idea. Try these solutions to your latest #writerproblem before you decide the best way to handle this.
Solution 1: Write down new ideas as they come, then leave them alone
Sometimes we’re overwhelmed by new ideas simply because we can’t get them out of our head. Just because you have a new idea doesn’t mean your old one has any less worth, and if you’re still motivated to finish it, there’s a way to hold onto that new idea without investing your full time and energy into it right away.
As bits and pieces of a new story come to you, jot down those idea fragments, maybe on a note in your phone or on a Post-It note, and then go back to whatever you’re working on right now. Leave them to sit for awhile. You won’t forget them, and when you’re ready to bring them to life, they’ll already be there waiting.
Solution 2: Use your new idea as motivation to finish your current project
Maybe you’ve been working on your current book, short story or other project for what feels like forever. Your eagerness to jump into the first new idea that comes along is a completely normal temptation. That new idea seems really good to you right now. It’s bright and shiny and YOU WANT IT.
Instead of abandoning your work for something different, use the promise of a brand-new project to get you through finishing the current one. Just think: not only will you be able to celebrate your accomplishment (it’s finally done!), but you’ll also be able to dive straight into the next thing right away.
Solution 3: Try dividing your time between both stories
If you really don’t think you can wait until your first project is done before starting the second one (try the above solutions first before you decide you can’t handle the waiting), do an experiment. See what happens when you try working on both at the same time.
This requires a lot of discipline. You’ll need to figure out how to schedule out your writing time so you’re giving equal attention to both projects. It can work, but only if absolutely necessary. You might find that working on two projects at the same time actually makes you more productive. Who knows? Give it a try and tell us how it goes.
New ideas are just that: new ideas. They might seem really great at first, and eventually they might turn out to be even better than you imagined. But they might not. If you’ve already put a lot of work into something, finish that first, if you can. You’ll feel much better when you do.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.