What do you do when you have several ideas backed up and you can't work on them? The obvious answer would be, write the basic idea down and then get back to it, and I do that. But I hate like hell to find myself thinking up whole scenes and good descriptions, because whatever I come up with a few days later never seems to be as good as when it's fresh. Anyone know what I mean?

Anyway, what do you actually do about it when you have pressing work that needs to come first? Do you still put it off to get the ideas down, or just pray it's all still there when you are able to come back to it?

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I don't worry about it much. Great ideas are a dime a dozen. The follow through is the hard part - actually draping that idea with 70 or 80 thousand words. I'm also not against starting several projects at the same time. Pretty soon my real interest will begin to show and the other projects will drop away. As you see, I'm undisciplined...
Steven, it's not the ideas - it's the fact that I do start to follow through shortly after I come up with the idea! Scenes form themselves and I can't write them down fast enough. Yes, sometimes I do hit a dead end and then I can get on to something else. I guess I just feel like I want to give these stories a fighting chance before I lose them. Maybe I'm not being realistic, though.
I think if you want to be a writer you have to make it a priority, find time for it somehow. You need to set a time, even if it's only an hour a day, and have a place where you can close the door and shut out the rest of the world. As long as you live, something or someone will try to prevent you from having that time. It just depends on how bad you want it.
Hmm, that's a bit oversimplified. I'm writing regularly. Fiction, even. I'm talking about the story ideas that intrude when I am working on freelance deadlines... finishing my last novel revisions so I can begin to submit... putting a new ending on a story that a zine editor wants to use... completing a story I promised to submit to an anthology. I'm hardly goofing off. Just trying to manage everything I want to do.
Sounds like you just have too damn much to do.

From what I know of you, I don't get that you've got a time management issue. Sometimes you might just need to scale some things back and try to approach them later.
i say jude comes over and breastfeeds the baby.

problem solved.


but i do know what you mean about an idea -- even how you want to write a scene -- never being as strong later. i always seem to forget something important so it sometimes ends up being a weaker version of what i would have written if i'd done it when it first came to me. or sometimes it's just a different version. for me the creative spark dilutes with thought repetition. so sometimes i actually force myself to NOT think about a project unless i'm working on it so i can use that initial zing when i'm actually writing.
ROFL! Perfect solution, Anne. How about it, Jude? :)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds that time waters words down. I have in the past been able to stop myself thinking about the work - I should probably work harder at doing that, practice it. Although it would be a fine line between not thinking about it, and still remembering it! ;)
Well, okay. But only if baby hasn't started teething yet.
He's got six of 'em. But doesn't bite... most of the time.
Well, you're not alone. I don't think anyone with a creative streak has the time and ability to act on every idea, no matter how good.

"I guess I just feel like I want to give these stories a fighting chance before I lose them."

Sounds like you are. As Steven says, ideas are a dime a dozen. The fact that you're taking the time to at least start them says to me that you're giving them space to breathe. Just because you have to put them down doesn't mean they disappear. You can approach them later.

It might take time to pick up the thread, sure, and they may have changed because new experiences may give you a different take on them, but they're not gone.
Oh, how I understand your dilemna! and how hard it is to stay on course.

Here's what I try to do....let the fire of a new idea take over & spend some time with it. Usually it's not more than an hour or so.

Then I give it a title and put it in a table I keep of all of my projects & projects-to-be. I try to identify right then what this idea could be. Is it a short idea worthy only of flash fiction? Is it a very visual story, more akin to a screenplay (which I'm not inclined to write) than a novel? I try to understand if this new idea is really a story I've already written....

What I really try to do by putting idea info into a table is find out if there are multiple ideas that compliment and strenghten each other to create one killer story. That first flush of an idea always sounds like it would be a great, whole story, but it often isn't. Then, too, by keeping ideas organized, I learn more about myself, my fiction, and my themes...

It always feels like the ideas start rolling just when I'm trying to absolutely finish something. And that the new ideas are always much more interesting. New ideas *are* extremely seductive, but finishing something before I start another project benefits me much, much more.
I tend to give ideas three or four days to settle. If they disappear in that time, I wouldn't have been interested enough in writing them to see them through. If they do stick around after three or four days, it won't matter if I'm working on something else. They'll still be there waiting when I'm able to get to them.


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