Resisting the Urge

As writers, we constantly have inspiration and ideas floating around. Most of the time, they’re just fragments of ideas that we jot down for later and then forget about. But sometimes, we are struck like a bolt of lightning with an idea we can’t ignore. What happens when  you’re struck in the middle of another project?

I already wrote this post about the struggles of working on two manuscripts at once, and the difficulty of keeping the voices and stories distinct from one another. Of course, now I’ve been struck with an idea for an entirely new story, and though I’ve tried my best I can’t ignore it.

I already scribbled a brief outline of all my ideas, just to get them on paper in the hopes that it would make them leave me alone and I could still save them for later. Of course, nothing is ever that easy. This morning I had some words rolling around in my head and I couldn’t get them out, so I decided to jot them down. That turned into the opening scene, which turned into culture research, which turned into more ideas, which turned into character development, which turned into characters. Now I have two more voices, shouting for my attention.

When we’re faced with a competing idea, we either have the choice to ignore it or give in. At this point, with two current projects–one manuscript, Ember, I am preparing for publication, and the other, Nightfire, I am so close to the end of the first draft, with three more books to write in the series–I can’t possibly start another.

I’ll admit, it’s exciting. I am starting to see the bare bones of this story come together, and I love it. I’m excited about this idea, and this world, and all the possibilities. But I can’t get excited over a new story when I need to stay excited and devoted to this one in order to make it through three more books.

I tried ignoring it, but that didn’t work, so I wrote what I can to save it for later. Now it feels like I’ve opened the floodgates, but I’m still trying to plug the holes.

How do you resist the urge, when a new story is tugging at you? Do you give in, or do you stop the holes and hope that is enough?

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2 thoughts on “Resisting the Urge

  1. I have ideas for new academic/non fiction projects as well as new fiction every week. I keep master lists for the non fiction ones, as they tend to be smaller pieces (though today I started having ideas for a possible new collection of essays so yeah…). As for the fiction ones, I did a lot of outlining for the last two months. For almost ten years, I haven’t been able to write original fiction (despite doing a lot of roleplaying) so even when the ideas bite me, I don’t feel the pull to go beyond worldbuilding and outlining for the moment.

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  2. Wow, that struggle is SO real. Don’t you wish you could bottle those moments for the days where there is no inspiration at all?

    Anyway, when that happens to me I normally give myself a day or two to write down things about the new story (like you did) and then I spend some time reminding myself why I like my current project so much. Sometimes I forget what I like about a project when I’m too zoomed in on specific scenes, etc.

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