More than one book

Question: I can be working on coming up with ideas for a book but then come up with an idea for a totally different book and then I keep coming up with more for that one and I write them all down so I don't forget them. So what are some ways I can just focus on one book idea and not be so drawn to another? It's like when you're reading a book and are into it then you find out another book and want to read that really bad but aren't even close to finishing the one you're on but you're just not feeling it anymore so you stop reading it and go on to the other one and I don't want to do that with my book ideas I rather focus on one and then when that's finished work on another one unless it could actually be good to work on one then take a break and work on another. I'm just not sure which is usually better.

Answer: This is why so many novels don't get written. Writers reach the stage where they're "just not feeling it any more."

In most artistic or other endeavours, it is common to feel the rush of excitement when the project begins.

However, half-way through, when the problems start to emerge (for instance, you realize what things you haven't developed enough, or thought through enough, or what things in act one contradict what you wrote in act two and how can you reconcile them in act three, and wouldn't it be better if you had a different main character because this one is now getting on your nerves, and there are just so many things to juggle that you're getting confused, etc.)... the effort seems to be more work than fun.

That's when the bright and shiny NEW BOOK IDEA seems so much more appealing.

Of course, if you switch to the new idea, you will eventually find (somewhere in act two) that it has plenty of its own problems to sort out.

Obviously, you have to develop the perseverance to work through the problems that emerge in the course of writing a book, otherwise you will never finish anything. You need to be both a) focused and b) relaxed. Focus is simply the ability to set aside all but the one project you are working on. To do that, you must relax and let go of the anxiety that kills the fun.

If you can develop the attitude that every chapter you write is a fun adventure, you will work much faster and with greater focus. It's not easy to develop this attitude. Our instincts cause us to get frustrated, impatient, and anxious with ourselves when problems arise. But if you can treat the problems as just part of the adventure--like little puzzles to be solved--that may help

I'm not keen on the idea of switching back and forth between projects, because to work on project B you have to switch to a different mindset than you had with project A, and by the time you get back to project A you may have rediscover all the things you had clearly in mind for project A but have now forgotten. So a lot of time is wasted getting back on track. Also, it's better in all ways to have one finished story than three partials.

I think it's good to write down new ideas when they arise and file them for later. But do this outside the time you have earmarked for working on your current project.

Comments for More than one book

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Mar 27, 2014
Re: More Than One Book
by: Todd Rogers

I know how it feels to be writing something for a while and then to find myself in that position where new ideas keep bombarding my mind until it seems like a new book is the best way to go.

But let me tell you....the best thing you can do is focus your mind and your energies to the story at hand.

There are many ways you can manifest your new ideas. On paper, electronically, on one of those mind mapping softwares, on index cards (my personal favorite) and story boarding on a dedicated white board.

If, in your writing schedule, you set one day a week to Brainstorming, you can come up with the ideas for many different books/stories.

If you're the type that can write 100 pages a day, then do it so long as you don't burn out, which is THE BIGGEST KILLER of stories out there.

You just get sick of the get tired...and things never progress as fast as your brain can think and fingers can type.

Focus, Daniel-san! Focus! :)

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