HOW TO OVERCOME TOO MANY IDEAS SYNDROME
- Sit down and assess your situation. Make a list of all your current writing projects, including editing, critiquing, and new ideas. If you like, you can include things like writing rants, articles, or rp paras on Tumblr or other online communities to which you may belong. Every instance of a project that requires you to commit your time to writing on it should make the list. Try not to place values on each of the items on your list by numbering or rating them. Actually seeing the complete list may be daunting, but at least you now know exactly where you stand. Once you’ve got your complete list, move on to the next tip.
- Make a map. Try making a visual or written “map” of what is left to do on each item. Don’t spend too much time here, just make signposts like, “finish second half” or “edit spelling/grammar”. You’ll know the kind of work involved for each signpost; you can even have more than one signpost for each item. Get it all out there!
- Don’t kid yourself. If you’ve written an item on your list that you are loathe to finish, cross it off and add it to another list of things on your back burner. If it’s on your Back Burner list, don’t work on it! That project needs a cooling off period, or else it needs to be scrapped altogether. Remember, you made a complete list then moved that project to the Back Burner. You chose to put it there for a reason, but there’s nothing keeping you from moving it back once you’ve finished the projects on the main list.
- Cut them up. Look at each of the writing projects left on your main list. Because you’ve written or drawn out everything you’ve left to do on them, it should be relatively simple to cut each project into several smaller tasks. Instead of writing a book, write a chapter. Instead of editing a short story, edit a page. Cut your projects into pieces that can be finished in a week or less.
- Start. Look over your list of smaller tasks. Start with the smaller task that you are least excited about when you skim down your list. Once it’s done, reward yourself by taking on the smaller task you were most excited about, then tackle another smaller task you’re not as excited about, then move on to the next smaller task that you’re excited about, and so on. You can hop around the writing projects if you like. Do not move on from a smaller task until it’s complete. Add new ideas to your main list or your Back Burner list as you go, but resist the urge to start on a new idea while you’re in the middle of a smaller task.
- Finish. Once you’ve completed all the smaller tasks for a writing project on your list, celebrate! No, actually celebrate. Go see a movie or hang out with friends. Make a post on your blog about it (tag us so we can read it). Do something to reward yourself for completing a writing project before continuing on to a new smaller task.