Posted in Bookish Things, Writing

What To Do About That Story in the Back of Your Mind – That Doesn’t Let Go

*cue screaming* ONE MONTH TILL SCHOOL STARTS! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!

Back to the topic. We’ve all been there, I’m there right now, and you very well could be too. There’s almost always a story nagging in the back of your mind, begging to be written, even when you’re over your head in edits for your current book.

And I mean, who wouldn’t be tempted? Writers have an incurable thirst for new, exciting stories. That’s what makes us writers – the ability to see a story in almost anything. But what also makes you a writer is having the discipline to put aside new ideas, no matter how tempting they are, when they don’t fit into your schedule. Like, in the middle of NaNoWriMo. 🙂

That said, there is definitely a time and a place for those kinds of ideas. Just don’t get too excited yet.

WHEN NOT TO USE NEW STORY IDEAS

When you know – you know, no matter how much it hurts – that your current project takes precedent. Even when it doesn’t feel that way. And believe me, when you’ve got writers’ block, or when you’re halfway through that second draft, chances are pretty good you’re not going to feel too inspired by the excellent work of fiction you’re creating. 🙂

Then, middle of the night, BOOM! Inspiration strikes! *cue the firing of a cannon and cheering* But . . . what about this book?

That said, there are also times when that new idea may be exactly what you need.

WHEN TO EMBRACE NEW STORY IDEAS

Okay, so, yes, there are instances where your current WIP needs to be put aside, and you need to work on something else for a while. I can’t give you a neat and organized definition of what that looks like, because it just depends. I’ve had to set aside projects many times and come back later. You’ll need to decide that yourself.

But that’s always a little freeing, when you can take a brand new story that’s been nagging at the back of your mind and bring it to life.

Reasons I’ve had to set aside projects

  1. There inspiration just wasn’t there. I mean, the well was completely dry. It wasn’t a case of writers’ block. I simply had nothing left to give to that story.
  2. The first draft was done, and I felt it would be best to wait a while on the rewrite.
  3. A project was “done”, and off to be edited. So I had to go write something else.

There are other reasons for other writers, I’m sure. But the decision to set aside a book needs to be made carefully, with discipline, not emotion. (Yeah, because we writers are all emotionless Borg drones.) Sorry, that was a Star Trek reference if you didn’t understand it. Suffice it to say, emotion often gets in the way of really writing, and it takes a lot of practice and patience to overcome that.

But then again (and here’s your philosophy for the day), emotions can get in the way of writing, but without them, no one would write the kind of fiction we love. Just remember that the next time you have that story you can’t write sitting so pretty in the back of your mind.

And . . . there you go! Oh, and did I tell you there’s just one month till school starts?

Let’s chat. Have you ever had to set aside a project and embrace a new one? Do you often have cool new book ideas in your mind? Let’s hang out in the comments!

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Author:

Hannah Gaudette is a home-school teen living in the hills of New England. When she’s not writing stories or training dogs, it’s a safe bet you can find her with some other animal, like cats. She’s a life-enthusiast who loves the ocean and The Piano Guys. Enough said.

9 thoughts on “What To Do About That Story in the Back of Your Mind – That Doesn’t Let Go

  1. Hey Hannah! Yeah, I’ve had to set aside projects to work on new ones. In fact, I do that quite a lot. My writing method is 50% writing new stuff, 50% procrastinating on writing old stuff, and 50% writing on said old stuff a few paragraphs at a time. (Don’t question my math.) And yeah, I always have new book ideas in the back of my mind. They can come from anything, from a few lines of conversation I have to a piece of trash in my trashcan to a prompt on the internet. Sometimes from weird dreams I’ve had, too. I usually just write a bit about it to sketch out the rough feeling of the idea, then keep that file saved in a folder I have called “Ideas” to work on them later. There are so many in that folder… and so many more in my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally know how that is! And that’s cool that you can find stories in your dreams. For as long as I’ve been writing, it seems, I’ve wanted to have dreams like that. Actually, I did have one dream like that . . . and I tried to write the story . . . It didn’t work. 🙂 But, hey, you never know!

      That’s great to have a folder for those ideas. Helps to keep them fresh, like food preservation in a refrigerator or a canning jar. 🙂

      Like

  2. Oh my, it happens to me all the time. It takes a lot not to go flicking to every idea that crosses my mind – it actually hurts – y’know? But what I do, is I have a book idea page where each time a new idea pops up in my head, I write it down there (let’s just say, it’s gotten reeeeally long) – sometimes if it’s a new idea starts becoming a story or something in my head I’ll write down the idea and then just write out whatever phrases or setting keeps playing itself in my head. I find that helps a LOT in quieting the new story’s whining to be written! XD

    Liked by 1 person

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