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How do you stick to an idea?

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:42 am
Niebla says...

This is one of my biggest problems: that even when I have a well-formed idea in my head, once I'm part of the way through it, I usually end up skipping madly to something else, and then the next get the pattern.

This is probably mainly because I'm generally a bit impatient, and if something isn't going quite right, I tend to skip to something else. I'm easily distracted, too, which doesn't help.

I know that it's good to skip between things sometimes as each new idea might be better than the last- and after all, I'm still practising writing, whatever I am writing- but at the same time, I think it would be nice to try and concentrate on one particular thing at a time for once. The problem is- how do I choose? And how do I stick to it?

I have too many ideas for longer stories all over the place at the moment, ranging from a complete fantasy set in a completely different world to a part-fantasy set in this world, to some more realistic fiction.

Does anybody else find this? What are your tips for just sticking to an idea for once?


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Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:21 pm
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malachitear says...

Well, I have the same problem(:

The main thing is to write everything down in detail, so there's no fear of 'losing' an idea. Each idea may be better than the last, but each idea also merits it's due respect. So you should force yourself (just a little) to explore new ways in which you want to make the current piece work. That's really the only way for me.

If you don't feel like continuing it, the plot may be a little too long, or the idea you had come up with doesn't seem as fabulous as it seemed to be at first glance. You could remember the reason you were writing the story in the first place, and even if it seem unsatisfactory when it comes out onto the paper, at least you tried, and slowly, you will be able to understand where you want to go with your stories(hopefully re-igniting some passion). If you have loads of wonderful ideas, you have to realize that you have all the time in the world to accomplish them :D Many writers start off on stories a lot, but leave them in half. It's not necessarily a bad thing though.Keep those half-done works, and they could bloom into something you could not have expected.

More importantly, keep yourself a bit focused on your topic. I'm not saying you should concentrate on one and not think of anything else-that never works. Leave room for your other ideas and write them down, but keep them aside for later. This should help you focus on one since there's no straying towards your other topics. However, if the other topic bothers you a lot, then maybe you could start off with that first? Writing deeply can sometimes be a little tiring for your mind, so maybe it just needs a little differing scenery.

Hope this helps(:
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Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:01 pm
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Carlito says...

I think most writers have a lot of ideas and a lot of different stories floating around in their heads! I know for me, I have three main novel ideas right now, a couple of potential novels that probably won't turn into anything, and then the random maybe someday ideas. I keep folders on my computer for each and when I get a little idea or a spark for something, I write it down and save it for later.

I generally focus on one story at a time and I don't force myself to write anything. What usually happens for me, is that I'll get inspired to work on a story, I'll work on it for a while and then I get sick of it. There's usually a period of a week or so where I don't write anything at all and then I get a spark for a different story. Sometimes stories get finished and sometimes I realize that they're not worth it.

For example, last school year I worked on a novel called Purple for the first half of the year and wrote the first three chapters. Then I worked on a different story, Alana, that I've been periodically working on for the last several years, and got about half to 2/3 of the way through it. I came home for the summer, went back to Purple, and finished the remaining four chapters. At the end of the summer I got sick of Purple and started writing Call me Alice, which I'm still working on. Throughout working on the novels, I've written songs, short stories, and poems when I get in the mood and get some inspiration for them.

Bottom line, write what you want and what you have the motivation and drive to write. Never force yourself to write something because it won't be good. When you get ideas for new stories but don't really want to start working on it, that's fine, just write down everything you think of and keep adding to it as you learn more about your characters and plot. Then when you have the time or desire to work on it, you'll be ready. Or, you'll realize that this story isn't worth writing and that's fine too.

If you work on a different story every week then you work on a story every week. Write what you're inspired to write and it will come naturally and stay fun. If you really want to keep working on a story but you're stuck, make a mini outline, or look ahead in an outline you've already created and write the next exciting scene that's going to happen instead of stressing out the more boring, transition scenes.

I hope I've been somewhat of a help but please let me know if something didn't make sense or if you have more questions!

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:58 pm
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Leahweird says...

I agree that staying interested in a project long enough to finish it is a problem. There are some things you can do to keep yourself motivated though. As mentioned above, switching between projects keeps things from getting stale.
I've also found that having someone read and give you feedback as you write is a great motivator. That's one of the reasons I love this site.
This might not work for everyone, but I get a lot of inspirtation from music. Listening to a song/songs that I have linked to one of my pieces tends to get me back in the mood for writing it. Basically, if you're running out of steam, revisit what gave you the idea in the first place.
Hope that helps!

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:42 am
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Rosendorn says...

I had a bad case of Idea ADD for a few years when I was writing. I still get into that mindset sometimes, when I get a burst of ideas.

What I do is dedicate all my time to a new project when it comes along. I write down every idea, scene/snippet, character, plot direction... and continue doing this kind of binge writing until every single idea is explored, written out, and they've stopped taking over my brain. Usually this happens when I hit the first stages of writer's block: having to think about ideas.

Once I have done this, I put the story away and go back to what I consider my "main" story that I'm looking to go farther on.

By doing this, I never lose an idea, get it out of my head, and refresh my enthusiasm for the idea I'm going back to. Usually, I start coming up with new ideas for the first project.

As for how I picked my main idea— that was a primary result of having a very long timeline for one world. That idea was the first of said timeline. It was also one of my first ideas period, so I have a certain amount of loyalty to it.

I'd say the system works rather well. I have a huge bank of ideas that I can draw from whenever, and one story I've stuck with for about six years.
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