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Creative Writing - How To Cope When You're Overwhelmed With More Ideas Than You Can Handle

Dan Goodwin

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As a writer, I'm sure you can relate to those frustrating and debilitating times when you can't seem to come up with a single decent idea to write about. You wonder not where the next chapter or poem will come from, but where the next few words will come from! This dilemma is for another article though. What can be equally as difficult issue for us as creative writers is the other end of this scale. Having TOO MANY ideas.

Almost as soon as you start one new writing project, your head is flooded with all kinds of other ideas shooting off at a dozen different tangents.

Trying to stay focused and channel your creative energy into this one writing project feels like trying to get across a tightrope while being bombarded with large scoops of ice cream. Whilst riding a unicycle! Yes, delicious the ice cream may be, but right now all you want to do is get across the tightrope without distraction.

So what can you do? Is there way to turn off the onslaught of new ideas? And if you do, what if you can't turn it on again? The best way to deal with this dilemma is to use a technique to capture and manage your ideas.

A great way of doing this is to use an ideas journal. This is simply a sketchbook or notebook that's small enough to keep with you and jot your ideas in as they come. When you're not writing, and you're out and about doing other things, ideas will still come to you. This is when you can use your ideas journal to jot them down to return to at a later date. When you're actually writing, your ideas journal can be equally effective.

Here's an example of what might usually happen:

Say you're writing a story about a young girl's experiences growing in 1950s Paris. As you write your main story, you're describing a particular area of the city and the architecture. This gives you an offshoot idea to write a story from the perspective of a certain downtown Parisian bar, and all the activities it's seen come and go. The bar has eyes and ears and plenty of stories to tell.

You try to push the idea out of your head and continue with your main story. But it keeps returning. Your head's caught halfway between the two stories and then up pops another idea based on tracing the history of Paris through it's fashions. After an hour or so of struggling to focus, you realise you can't fully concentrate on ANY of these different threads so you end up giving up on them all and writing nothing.

If you use an ideas journal, here's what happens instead:

You're writing your main story, and the story about the bar pops in your head. You take out your journal, jot down a few lines about the new idea - enough to capture the essence and energy of it - then close your ideas journal and return to the main story.

Maybe ten minutes later, the Paris fashions idea comes to you. Again, you take out your journal, capture the main detail of the idea, then return to your main story. What happens when you use an ideas journal is that the ideas are captured right away and put in your journal. Allowing you to continue to write your main project.

This means that:

1. You don't have to worry about trying to remember the idea - it's written down and will incubate quite nicely thank you until such time as you want to return to develop it.

2. This new idea doesn't suck your creative energy away from your main writing project. You can remain focused and continue to channel all your creative energy into that main project.

Start using an ideas journal today, for a great way of capturing and managing your creative ideas, as well as allowing you to stay more focused and more productive in whatever writing project you're currently working on.

Looking for a way to get your creative writing kick started again? Then I invite you to start now, with the FREE 5 part creative writing ecourse at http://www.YouAreACreativeWriter.Com

From Creativity Coach Dan Goodwin


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