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All those voices that don't shut up!

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Asura Levi, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

    For years now I never got a good focus on writing. It is not that I don't know/have what to write, I have, plenty of stories and plots and characters and plenty of settings and worlds, from medieval with high magic to contemporary with vampires and angels. LORD! Even cyberpunk!

    And that is the problem, I have stories to write, just too many. I can't stay with one until I finish, the maximum I got was to write for a week in the same line, before switching to something else.
    Some times the change is from different genres while in others is just a mere point of view, hook or plot change in the same universe with the same characters.

    So I was wondering, how you guys do to shut up those voices that are not important right now and if it is a common issue or something rare.
  2. teacup

    teacup Auror

    Note every idea you have down, but look no further into it. Stick with one idea that you love, and only allow yourself to write the others when you finish the first one. I suppose it's just choosing one and then having the willpower and interest to stay with it. Just try not to think of the other stories, focus on the ending to one story, a major plot point in it, or a twist. Focus on something you're excited about in one story, and work towards that.
  3. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    It common to have too many ideas. Also, every writer I know battles with the desire to jump from one topic, or project, to the next. Some can handle working on multiple works at once, some need to focus on one at a time, and others delude themselves into thinking they can juggle several projects but never finish a single one.

    If you've never finished anything, then you need to develop a strategy to complete a story. There's a couple ways you can go about this. First, try to write shorter pieces. I don't write a lot of shorts because it's not really what I want to do, which is novel length work. I'll tell you what they're great for though...establishing the skills needed to finish your work. That's one idea.

    As far as the overwhelming flood of ideas? Write them down in an idea file, and stash them away. When you finish a project, you'll have an abundance of topics to choose your next one from.

    At some point though, you're just going to have to decide if you're going to write a novel or not. Writing is hard to do well. To do this over the course of 100k+ words takes a tremendous amount of dedication and discipline. If you truly desire success, you're going to have to dispense with any excuses and rationalization that enables you to quit and not accept full blame for failure. The choice, and it's always a choice, is up to you.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  4. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

    About the writing down the ideas, I do this already, you have no idea the amount of stickers and notebooks I filled up already. But I can't just get to focus on it for long.

    That is two stories I managed to finish, one was following and idea outlined years before (110,000+ words) the other was about 22,000+ that I only managed to get it done because I was listening to the same musics all the time (keeping in the mood).

    Also, I unable to write short stories, they all go to novel size.
  5. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    How about disciplining yourself to a specific daily word count on your main project? If you achieve that goal you allow yourself to work on other writing pursuits.
    Harmonytoo likes this.
  6. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    I don't write my ideas down until it's actually time to start working on them. Ideas come and go all the time, some are good and others are interesting at the time. The thing is, at least for me, that the good ideas keep coming back. They don't always show up in the exact same form, but in one way or another they're coming back.
    For me, writing down my ideas would be mostly a waste of time. I'd end up with a whole lot of notes and papers with scribbles on them and they'd just take up space and never come to anything.
    Because I get new ones all the time.
    I can't picture myself sitting down and sifting through my notes looking through my old ideas and try to pick a cool one. I might try it, but in the end I'd probably get another idea and be more excited about that.

    So my advice would be:
    Don't write down your ideas - have new ones.
  7. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Asura, I also have dedicated playlists depending on which project I'm working on. If that helps you, stick to it.

    I'm a writer who juggles multiple projects. I do this because my writing partner and I are working on one massive urban fantasy series, so I can hop from one book to another to keep my mind fresh without it having too much of an impact on my work flow.

    It sounds like you're suffering from "look, it's so shiny!" syndrome, where each new idea seems so much sexier than the last. My first piece of advice - stop that. Ideas are cheap. Orson Scott Card does a workshop called something like "100 Ideas in 1 Hour" or something like that. If you sat down and let your imagination run riot, I bet you could top that, easy.

    So, pick a project, choose your music, and knuckle down and work it. When the shinies pop into your head, write them down - not on scraps of paper or posties, those get lost. Either choose a nice binder/notebook or open a special file on your computer (make sure you back up your computer regularly), jot that shiny down, and get back to work.

    And as a special note, you asked how to get the voices to shut up. You don't. It's part and parcel of what makes you a writer. You don't WANT them to shut up, either. Because when the voices shut up, the stories shut up, and what is a writer with no stories?
    Asura Levi and Harmonytoo like this.
  8. Addison

    Addison Auror

    I have tried since the beginning of my writing career to shut those extra voices up. I've tried tunnel vision, aspirin, hot chocolate...coffee(Bluck!) But I've found the best way, for me, is to listen and keep going. Keep a notebook for Side projects or something so that if and when those other voices pop up you write them down so you can keep going with your main WiP.
  9. sparrow

    sparrow New Member

    I know about those voices, all the people you don't know who somehow feel so real sliding through my mind late at night, usually when I am trying hard to sleep. I have entire movie-like dreams of people and scenes rolling through my head. Sometimes I let them play out...if I don't like the conclusion I edit and let my lucid mind travel along. If I like what I dreamt, then I write it the next day or so, emptying my brain. Often times the work is a part of my current work, if it is not then I just write it and save it to use for something else. I started a work in 2009 writing a book and of a sudden it was as if the flood gates opened and all these people, places and events rolled out every night something different. I felt as though perhaps I was channeling somebody's life or something. Finally after many nights of this I broke down and emptied my brain of all the stories.
    What I ended up with was 5 books and the ties to the rest of a series for nine books.
    Amazing. So the last three years I have been fleshing out those stories, yet still new things pop in, so I just take note and then doggedly continue. Sometimes I switch gears and work backwards future to past to link stuff and then go back to what I worked on before.
    So it sounds like you have an active mind, just take the ideas, write them and get back to your work. I do know that sometimes the work needs to be left alone...take a break, work in another chapter or even another book and then when I go back my work is creative again.
    Good luck. Take the notes and be thankful you have ideas. Again, it is good to take time daily to write and then to take a break here or there if you feel overwhelmed by everything. Sometimes looking back and reading what you have done previously can get you out of a slump or redirect your energies and plots. Have fun.
    Asura Levi and Harmonytoo like this.
  10. sparrow

    sparrow New Member

    Amen to those wise words. I was asked once how I write. Do I sit down to a blank page and what do I do?
    Ha I have never had that problem because my mind is so loaded with things to do, and somehow they are neatly filed away and I can take them and write. When I get to a place in my book or chapter where I am not sure how I am headed then I do a fun thing...old computer programming flow chart methods-the IF What Then When and Why. Works every time. Often times I am writing a scene and my fingers and mind just all of a sudden take off sometimes in a surprising direction and I say WHOA! where are we going?! I check it out and often it works; the subconscious mind is an amazing tool and what we perceive to be good plot or story often gets bogged down or falls apart.
    So let those voices lead you but don't let them take you away from what you are doing. The imagination of a creative mind is a terrible thing to waste and end up in the trash basket for want of a plot or an audience...the maybe not now but later is a good thing to do and play with those ideas when you have none.
  11. Devora

    Devora Sage

    I come with ideas quite a bit myself. What i do is that i write them down on a paper or a word document and then go back to what i was working on.

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