Writing Life: Switching Between Ideas

It has literally been over a year since I’ve last used this feature or the previous version that was Writing Insights on the blog. While I have created a couple of write tags, I’ve given very little insight into my writing process and struggles I am facing lately. So, I am here today to talk about how I cope with several story ideas swarming my head, even when I want to focus on one of them alone. I feel like this topic isn’t just applicable for writers though, but also for bloggers who have a gazillion post ideas.

SHOULD YOU SWITCH BETWEEN IDEAS?

I don’t think there is any one way to answer this question. Some people need structure and focus to work on a single project, others need the rush of multitasking to get things done. Everyone is different and that’s a good thing. However, I can’t help but feel a little guilty for choosing to work on newer and shinier projects once the going gets hard on old favourites. Is it my fault for being so easily distracted or is it healthy to get things out of the way that seem to cloud your judgment and motivation for what you’ve been working on thus far?

Let me give you an example! As many of you know, I have been working on my story Arcadia (details about it here) for several years now. I may not be the fastest writer, I may not even do the best job I could with this first draft, but I am being the most dedicated I could be. At least that’s what I thought. As of late, my thoughts have become increasingly occupied by what I skillfully dubbed the #witchyWIP for now. I didn’t have a plot idea, I barely even had names for the characters, but these random scenes just kept invading my mind over and over until I wrote them down.

Here’s the first chapter/prologue that came as a result from that:

And after that, I just couldn’t really stop? I didn’t have answers to the questions I was asking myself with this story, but I sure as heck wanted to find out where it was all going. While I am usually very much a pantser for all my projects, I found myself outlining what could be (even though I am sure it’s not nearly as detailed or coordinated as other people do their outlines) and making notes in all my notebooks and on my phone whenever inspiration struck. So, while I still love Arcadia, Kasia and Dyson and everyone in the story very much, I just can’t seem to focus on that particular story right now. Does that mean I am going to abandon it altogether? Of course not! It’s a story I very much intend to finish and since I was going at snail-speed anyway, it doesn’t seem like it would make too much of a difference if I jotted down a couple scenes for something new in the meantime. Still, the guilt remains

For now, I have decided to just go with the flow and continue to write for whatever story idea I feel most inspired to work on. With everything that is going on outside of blogging, we will see how much time and energy I will have in the weeks to come anyway. But I would like to hear from you fellow bloggers and writers:

Do you get distracted by newer and shinier ideas as well sometimes? How do you balance wanting to explore something fresh, while continuing to work on your old projects at the same time? Do you get things done or gradually forget about what you previously worked on once a new idea comes to mind? I would love to discuss this topic with you in the comments below! 

45 thoughts on “Writing Life: Switching Between Ideas

  1. I totally understand the struggle of wanting to work on one project because you feel inclined to due to it being the book you began first, but that witch book sounds really cool!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you get where I am coming from! For now, writing the witch project is just so much more fun. I don’t want to quit Arcadia altogether, especially since there ARE actual people reading it and wanting to know how it ends, but I just think that if I force it, it will turn out terribly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly – forcing something is definitely not the way to go! This is kind of what I did with my book We’re All Beautiful. I loved the characters and people seemed to love the snippets i posted but when nanowrimo came around, i didn’t feel like working on that book because there’s just so much in the beginning to fix so i started a new project! and everyone seems to like that project as well so it’s a win-win situation. especially when you’re bored or don’t want to work on one book, you can switch over to the other.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You know how much I love what you’ve been writing, so I shouldn’t scream about it again.
    Or should I?
    Okay, I will.
    KAT THIS IS SO GOOD I AM ALREADY LOVING THIS SO VERY MUCH. ❤ I'm sorry. I'm always your dedicated fangirl, I'm sorry but there's nothing you can do about it I guess 😅
    I always have SO much trouble with switching between projects. Right now in my mind, I have so many ideas for stories, but I really, really don't want to spread things out and just… I don't know, I'm afraid to give up on an idea and to never go back to it, so I would rather finish it, or at least what's currently happening (for instance there, my edits, or well, whatever I started painfully slowly😅 ) before getting into another idea. If that makes any sense? Maybe I'm just too nervous and my inner organization freak wants to finish something before heading into something else 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaha I love that you are my number 1 fangirl! It means so much to me that you support me no matter what ❤
      As I said in the post, we are all different. I don't think you should do something you are not comfortable with. But maybe starting a whole new project might free you up for the edits? You never know, but at the same time I don't want you to do something you don't feel ready to do. I just think you have many more stories in you and that experimenting is always a good idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Switching stories can be healthy for you. It definitely prevents burn out. Do it, if you think it’ll help. It may even make your stories better in the end by giving your mind time to relax and think of new things to add in.

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  4. I also get distracted by newer and shinier ideas, which is probably why my current WIP has changed direction about a thousand times. My mind keeps going down new roads and before I know it my WIP has become a new story with new characters and new paths for the old characters to walk down! 🙂
    I do have ideas for other WIPs floating around in my head, and at the moment they’re just floating there but I know if I write them down it will help me focus on my current WIP more. What I’ve started doing is keeping a notebook and pen on hand when I am working on my current WIP, so instead of focusing on newer shinier ideas I can quickly scribble them down and get back to what I was working on. 🙂
    This is a great post, I love the snippet you posting it sounds like an incredible opening, and hopefully even though it’s not your main focus work on Arcadia is still going well. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t get other story ideas WHILE writing, it’s more like during the day and such. But jotting down just the idea isn’t helping, I really have to write out the scenes haha Also, I haven’t actually imagined new story ideas for existing characters. That’s interesting! Do you really change the entire story? I think the most I have done is give characters I surprisingly liked more page time than initially intended.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah it kind of ends up going that way. Like I’ll be writing and all of a sudden I come up with a new plot point that I think will just change a chapter or two but before I know it the plots changes, I’ve added three new characters and ‘killed’ two off completely. It makes writing a little hard when I feel like I’m constantly at the beginning of my WIP never getting any further along.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahh, I have this issue too. I can’t keep going at one project if it starts to bore me or become repetitive, and it’s a bit worrying lol. Heck, I even ditched my first blog because it was becoming repetitive, and I’m even having thoughts of ditching my current blog! *sighs* I do wish I could just focus on one project for a long time, but it’s still a good sign that I AM ditching something if it doesn’t make me happy; follow your gut instincts. 😉

    By the way, that prologue you wrote is eerie as heck; I love it! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have ONE finished story and all the rest I am procrastinating on or putting on hold for newer stuff. It’s becoming an issue haha but I hope you don’t stop with your blog! I’d miss you!!! (unless you are really unhappy, I don’t want you to be unhappy)

      Thaaanks! I love working on that new story for now. I have set up a google doc for a couple people to read it but maybe I will make it public one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love getting an insight into your writing process 💕 I definitely understand what you’re going through, because ideas strike us writers at all times and they are usually all-consuming, totally taking our minds off the current WIP. I usually write everything down – better have it somewhere than the idea being lost! Most of the time these ideas need to simmer a bit & I’ll return for them later when I have the time, but in your case when the idea is taking over … you really got to go with it 🙂 I also loove the excerpt and I would love to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you liked this post! It’s kind of hard coming up with themes for this post, but I do like talking about writing stuff every now and then.
      Yeah, this idea really consumed my thoughts too much. If it’s just something passing, I can also write it down or just forget about it, but this one didn’t want to let me go.
      I am going to DM you on Twitter about something!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. THIS IS MY PROBLEM. I ADMIT IT. I CAN NEVER STICK TO ONE STORY. It’s a serious issue because then I sort of never actually write anything. I just plan and plot and then I get a new idea and plan and plot for that one and then…you get the idea. Sigh. Maybe one day I’ll actually write something haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kat, as you can see from all the comments, you have plenty of company. What you describe is a common problem with fiction writers. (I blogged about this: Love At First Write). Beginnings, like a romantic relationship, are always exciting and fill us with energy. But for the relationship to thrive and reach its potential, you have to be in it for the long haul. So many writers, including myself, abandon their work when they hit the “muddy middle”. It may help to know that novelists who publish their book, even award-winners, often describe periods of self-doubt and almost giving up. Maybe you need time to really flesh out your idea. Try doing a lot more planning. Allow yourself to write a crappy first few chapters. You don’t really know what you’re dealing with until you get to the end! Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I guess I always knew I wasn’t alone, but planning my story really isn’t something I am able to do if I want to keep working at it longer. The more I know what will happen, the less interested I seem to be in writing it down. And I rarely worry about whether the things I do jot down for now are good or not. I do like feedback as I am writing, but generally I am not too fussed about it. But thank you nonetheless for your advice.

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  9. I used too have soooo many projects at the same time because I kept getting new ideas and immediately jumped on them haha. It didn’t work, so now I really try to focus on one WIP at a time, though not that long ago I wrote multiple chapters for a different wip 😅 Since I’m super close to finishing my main WIP though, I really don’t want to get distracted by other ideas, but it’s so tempting haha. So I feel your struggles! But if you’ve hit a slump when it comes to Arcadia, you might as well work on a different story anyway 😛 Besides, that might help getting back to Arcadia later, after a bit of a break!

    Like

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