Most authors began writing because of a variety of factors. For me, it is a desire to tell stories that have been rattling around in my head for years. The biggest problem is, I don’t have a shortage of stories, I just have a shortage of time to get them fleshed out and published.
2017 has been a bit of a low production year for published works from me. I haven’t published a book and I’m hoping to get one published before the end of the year. This low productivity isn’t because of writer’s block. It’s due to a lack of time.
My upcoming book, Blood Match, has been edited with a cover design and trailer for over two months. It has been delayed mostly because of enrollment in the Kindle Scout program. I waited until the campaign was over to enlist beta readers and I’m waiting until they are done to enlist advance readers.
In hindsight, I would have started the beta and advance reader processes during the Kindle Scout campaign so that when the campaign was over, I would have been ready to publish immediately and keep he momentum going. I will likely do this with the next book early next year.
Now, back to the topic of this post, what do you do when you have a plethora of ideas and a lack of time. Here are some tips that I’ve put together that seem to work for me.
Keep a list of your ideas
I carry a small notebook and use it to record ideas. As I’m traveling, people watching and reading and watching the news about current events, I’m constantly recording ideas in my notebook. It’s not just story ideas, but interesting things about locations and characters that I might use in the future.
Frequently Revisit Your Ideas
Sometimes, when I’m stuck on a part of the writing process for a current work, or I’m just plain bored, I’ll review my notebook and maybe jot down some details to flesh out one of my ideas. This helps to keep the creative brain moving forward and gives me a sense of hope for the next project. It also helps me ‘cleanse the pallet’ to get back to the task at hand.
Be Willing to Admit Your Ideas are Lame
Not every idea that I record is going to be winner. I sometimes amuse myself by looking at ideas that I’ve jotted down in the middle of the night after a dream and they are ridiculous. I don’t have a problem with flagging them as bad ideas, but I don’t erase or cross them out. Sometimes a variation on a bad idea can turn out to be a viable one.
Prioritize Your Ideas
I usually have my next 2-3 writing projects lined up. This helps me to think about the next project when I have lulls in working on the current one. Those next project frequently become a one or two page ‘treatment’ with plot points, characters, location descriptions, etc. It helps to keep you moving forward.
Having Trouble Coming Up With Ideas?
When I haven’t generated ideas for a while, I have to remind myself to be more observant. News headlines can be a source of inspiration. The current news cycles have reality that is often stranger than fiction. I often find interesting nuggets in small local articles. Minor crimes or weird tales can make great short stories or even full blown novels.
Why am I This Organized?
I just turned 55 this year. I published my first novel at 50. I honestly want to write as much as I can. As I look toward retirement 10-12 years down the road, I want my writing to be a hobby that turns into a fairly steady income stream. I’m treating it like a business, my own business, that I will expand and pour sweat equity into without the promise of a lot of return for now. Eventually I want to be a writer/blogger/publisher/editor/formatter and help others get started on their Indie careers. For now, I will continue to write and hope for the best.
What about you? How do you wrangle your ideas?