Once, when I was getting back into writing again after a long break, my husband asked what I wanted for Christmas. “Writing books,” I said, and invited him to check my long Amazon wish-list. Christmas Day came, and yes, he’d bought me a writing book, though not one on my list.
Instead, he got me a book on prompts for writers who have no idea what to write about, because it had better reviews than any of the books I wanted! Then he wondered why I thanked him for the kind thought and told him how much I appreciated it, but never opened the book.
I would hate to have no ideas for stories. It must be horrible, to want to write but not know what or where to start. As frustrating as jumping and jumping to try to catch the string of that red balloon before it floats away, but it stays just out of reach.
But I have the opposite problem.
Too many ideas.
Story ideas are everywhere. On my Facebook newsfeed, in the newspapers, in accidentally overheard conversations (those people who talk too loud on the bus or train, or in the doctor’s waiting room!). Often they just appear out of nowhere, gifts from God. But I write too slow to keep up with all my ideas, and already have enough story outlines roughed out to keep me busy till around 2050!
It’s a real problem for me. Every new story idea that comes along seems sooooo much better than the one I’m working on. Shiny New Story Syndrome.
I don’t think only writers have it, I’m sure crafters and just about all creative people have the same thing. Following the lure of the shiny new project leads to a workroom cluttered with UFOs (UnFinished Objects), or a hard drive cluttered with unfinished stories.
And oh my, don’t those unfinished things nag at us?
In the past six months, I have started and abandoned so many stories. Then gone back to the old one when the shiny new idea lost its shine after a few chapters. Then fallen for the lure of another shiny story…
Which is why with novellas for two summer boxed sets and a multi-author project launching in July all due soon, I find myself with three unfinished stories, lots of shiny ideas, and looming deadlines! Eep! And all the unfinished stories are for the first set, and won’t really fit the other projects. First I thought I’d do one, then I switched to another, then back to the original story, then a whole new story came along.
Which one will I finish for the first boxed set?
- A reluctant princess, now a doctor in New York, duty-bound to remain in her home country when a temporary marriage of convenience to her first love is the only way to save it from tumbling into anarchy.
- A Hollywood star hides out as a live-in volunteer in a homeless shelter when a career-wrecking scandal erupts while she’s in London for a friend’s wedding – and then finds herself falling for the shelter manager.
- A widowed garden designer determined to build a garden in memory of her husband at a prestigious flower show has to work with the disgraced celebrity gardener whose business failure almost ended her chance, if she’s to get the garden finished in time.
Right now, I’m working on #1, as the newest and still shiniest story. The others will get written too, eventually. Maybe next spring? LOL, along with the sequel to #1, which popped into my mind too!
So, please help me! What are your tips for maintaining focus when you’re being pulled in too many directions? Or please share what is your biggest UnFinished Object! One commenter before May 7th will be chosen at random to win an ebook copy of whichever book I finish first. bThis couple will be on the cover, if I choose the princess story. :)
To see all my published books (I do manage to finish some!) just click on the image.