I was at the beach last week on my family vacation, which was fun and restful. I had thought about writing a blog post, but there was always something to do, whether riding bikes, eating seafood, or spending time on the beach. I also thought it would be kinda nice to step away from blogging for the week. Thus, I didn’t post last week.
But today, I have a wonderful guest post by another YDubber! I’m sure it’s a topic many of you can relate to: Having too many ideas.
Taylor Bagwell, you can call her Nicolle, is a 20-something college grad who’s always looking for new ways to stretch her intellectual talents. Her works are inspired by a few specific sources: the Bible, her siblings, and various family pets (mostly of the feline persuasion). When not typing away on her keyboard, Taylor enjoys mild physical pursuits such as parkour, beginning ballroom dancing, and long-distance bike riding. Her little corner of the internet world is called Nicolle’s Nook.
What do you do when you have too many story ideas? That is a question I have searched several times online, and while there are many articles that have lists and tips on what to do, I have found that most of them involve some sort of vague decision making. I don’t know about you, but I went searching for answers to my problem, not more decisions to make on top of the one I had first.
Now, I don’t mean to say that the solutions are bad. On the contrary, some of them work quite well for certain people, just not all of them. Here are a few that work for me and that involve a lot less vague decision making.
1. Papers in a Hat
This is probably the easiest and most basic of the solutions. You write down each of the story ideas on a different piece of paper and stick them in a hat, bag, drawer, whatever you’ve got and mix them together. With your eyes closed, you reach in and pick a single piece of paper. That is the story you write.
Keep in mind, you might have a feeling of disappointment when you read the story selection. All that means is that you had another story that you wanted to write more than that one. Of course, you are permitted to keep pulling stories until you find one that makes you happy. I can’t exactly come over there and prevent you from doing so, but it is somewhat cheating. However, if it gets you writing, then its job is done.
2. Ask Someone Else
You can always take your ideas and present them to a friend or family member and see which one they thing you should pursue writing. The great thing about this method is that their decision is made with very little bias.
Now, another version of this is to make a list with all your story ideas and ask your friend or family member to pick a number between 1 and however many ideas you have. I have actually used this method and it worked great. My mother was really glad that I didn’t sit there and give her a long-winded spiel about every idea. It’s definitely a time saver.
3. If You Only Had One
Agent, acquisition editor, and publisher Steve Laube has a saying that he often tells people who have more than one story that they’re trying to publish, but they can’t decide what. He says, “If you could only have one of your ideas published and God takes away your ability to write…which one would you choose?”
Though he does specify publishing, this works for just writing as well. If you could only write one story, just one, which one would you write? It’s not the easiest question in the world to answer. It’s not even the easiest solution mentioned here, but I do believe it is the most important of them.
If you’re like me, then you will always be plagued by the question of which story idea to pursue. The suggestions mentioned here have helped me tremendously with my ever-growing list of ideas. I hope they can help you too.
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Are you a writer who’s list of future writing projects is constantly growing? How do you choose which project to work on? Aren’t these tips so helpful? Which is your favorite? Talk to me in the comments!