Don’t Cheat on Your Ideas

ImageOne of the biggest problems we face as writers is our inability to follow through certain ideas. We would start writing a novel thinking it would be great, only to find ourselves, days later, ignoring it completely for the sake of a newer and more appealing idea. I had the same issue with novels, short stories and even articles. And I’m sure many of you can relate to this, even if you don’t work in the field of writing. So, how to stay faithful to your ideas? And how to resist, without wasting the opportunity of, a younger and hotter inspiration?

Take Notes: One of the reasons we get inclined to dump an old idea and jump to the next one is the fear of forgetting the sudden jolt of inspiration that hits us at 2:00 a.m. as we are trying to sleep. By taking notes you ensure that these thoughts won’t get that far, even if you don’t start working on them right away.
Another benefit of taking notes is that it revives that creative juice at the moments when you can’t find anything to write about. Just pull the notebook and get inspired. It’s like a little letter from you to yourself.

ImageTake More Notes: Yes, I know I already said that. It’s one thing to take notes about an idea that sprung through your head, but that’s not all it takes to write a successful article, story, book, genius meatloaf recipe, or a business plan. There is a fair amount of research involved in writing every piece. So, to make sure all those websites, statistics, medical data, and historical events are not forgotten, write them in your notebook next to the brief synopsis of your idea.
This is, also, helpful for you to feel that you’re working on the new idea, without having to throw away the old one. By the time you’re done with the old piece of writing, you can start writing the newer piece immediately without wasting time on research – which is one of the reasons people get bored with writing.

ImageNew is Always Better: Yes, this article is to teach you how to commit to your old writing, but that doesn’t mean you have to get stuck in a rut! Find a new writing location, change the scenery in the room, take a different route to work, or simply research new information on the subject you are writing about. This will help spark up your desire to write more about the old issue, while also get your creative juices flowing.

There Will Be Time for Editing: Don’t look at your first draft and get overwhelmed at how much work it needs. Don’t look at your first draft at all! Just revise the things you wrote the day before, make some adjustments, and then go on – go on until you finish. Even the greatest writers need to edit their work. So, don’t get discouraged if your first draft isn’t that great. Write now, edit later.

ImageThink of It as a Job: Your boss asks you to write a short piece about the cons of throwing toilet paper in the toilet. You don’t get picky and say: No, I’ll ignore this one halfway through and write about alien appearances in Texas.
To be able to commit to your writing you have to be your own boss. Force yourself to sit facing that screen, reward yourself when you’re done, even reprimand yourself if you have to – or find someone else to do it for you. The most important thing for you to succeed in any domain is to have an elephant-sized commitment.

Image Ideas are family; treat them accordingly. Don’t give up on them, don’t fool around, don’t be over critical, and, most importantly, commit. Happy writing!

21 thoughts on “Don’t Cheat on Your Ideas”

  1. I went to dinner, and then I came back for seconds and then I came back for dessert with this delicious meal of an article. Hope nobody minds I gained a few pounds of knowledge.

  2. I’m not really an abandoning-lots-of-projects sort of writer, but this post is pretty helpful nonetheless! Thank you for the tips 🙂

  3. Great post, I jot down ideas all the time, for fear of losing them. It’s my best way of building up stories, I keep jotting new notes I think of and eventually I realise I have a whole story!

  4. You must be writing about me! How many writing projects have I started with the best intentions and they’re all there unfinished and in several notebooks/word documents/ private blogs– I need the time to get on with them!

  5. I put each idea into its own folder and keep it nearby if I don’t I tend to forget them. 🙂

  6. One evening at work I heard a voice (literally…this doesn’t happen to me normally; I’m not the voice-hearing type) that spilled the idea of my novel into my brain. I emailed the thought to myself, went on my dinner break, came back, and reread my email (having totally forgotten what I’d mailed!). I still liked it. The next day I still liked it, and the day after that, and the week after that. So I started writing. I though it would take a year, two at the very most. That was five years ago.

    In the interim I dropped the project several times, went back to work only to quit, and picked it up again. I did eight complete revisions, wrote other shorts stories in the meantime, and have thought as recently as last month about throwing the whole thing away.

    And I’ve done ridiculous amounts of research, since the story takes place in New York City and another New York town I’ve visited only once, for research. Yet I’m sure I got things wrong.

    And I want to know how you got that photograph of my writing room! Are you spying on me???

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