Friday, October 15, 2010

Shiny New Idea Syndrome

Do you suffer from shiny new idea syndrome? I know I do.


Shiny new idea syndrome is when you are plugging along on a story, making awesome progress on it, when you get an idea for a new story, a better story, an epic idea. And you want to stop writing the first story to write this mega blockbuster story. It's shiny and new and has to be written now!

This happens to me constantly. I usually can ignore it by writing down the gist of the story and saving it in a word document. If it's a short story idea for an anthology, I'll usually start writing it right away, at the same time as my other story. I don't normally write two novels at the same time, although I might be writing one and editing another.

So do you suffer from this horrible writing affliction? What do you do to overcome it? What's your writerly medicine?

20 comments:

The Golden Eagle said...

I suffer from that a lot. I usually do the same that you do--write some of it out in Word, or I'll sometimes jot down a plot if it's that coherent.

Christi Goddard said...

I usually just jot down the new idea and save them for later, but recently one of my ideas keeps tugging me away from what I was trying to finish. So now I am writing two at once, and it's getting harder to work on the first one since I really want to work on the second one.

Faith said...

I do the same thing -- write the idea down and come back to it later, though if it's a short story idea I might start on it right away. It really depends. Of course, this also means I have an overwhelming amount of 'unwritten' stories now. It's a bit daunting.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That happened to me. While taking a break from my last wip, I had an idea for a story based on a subplot for a book I put aside. I wrote the outline and characterizations so I could start writing the first draft once I'd finished my other wip.

But then a shiny new idea blind sided me. I worked on the characterization and outline, and now that I'm finished my last wip, I busy at work with the shiny idea. Best part is there is other outlined book is still waiting for me when I'm finished this book. :D

Angela said...

I usually do just what you do.

Cherie Reich said...

Yes, I, too, suffer from shiny new idea syndrome. In fact, one shiny new idea hit me while driving to the JRW conference. I'm gearing up to write a new novel and need to focus on it, and this other novel idea keeps banging on the door, wanting to be let in. Right now, I'm doing my best to pay attention to what it says but ignore it in the fact that I'm not going to write the novel yet. In fact, I might not get to it until next NaNo.

But, I'm like you. If it is a short story, I might go ahead and start it, but otherwise, I tell it to be quiet and wait its turn.

Michelle Gregory said...

Nicole, do you know what a relief it is to find out there are other authors out there who suffer the same affliction? big sigh. sometimes i just write the idea down, but if i'm in second or third draft mode and i'm stuck at one spot, i go ahead and let my mind play with a new story. a lot of times that helps me get unstuck.

Meredith said...

I use the same method you do--I write it down and try to forget about it. If I forget about it, I set a date for when I can start working on it, and I'll hopefully have finished my current WiP by then. Shiny new ideas are so wonderful and distracting!

Quinn said...

Actually, this doesn't happen to me a lot. Normally, when I'm working on an idea, I'm so focused on it that nothing else enters my mind.

However, I just finished my second book a month ago. While I was thinking of what to write next, I came up with two great ideas. Now, I don't know which one to write.

lynnrush said...

I don't usually get that. I think of all the novels I've written, thats happened once or twice. I usually just jot down the idea (It usually comes in the form of an opening sentence) then come back to it when my current project is done . :-)

I guess having ideas come in is a good thing, right?

Colene Murphy said...

I do it but manage to coral myself by just getting the idea, like you, down and putting it aside for later.

Those shiny new ideas are so tempting though!

Talli Roland said...

Oh yes! This does indeed happen to me too. I scribble it down, let it marinate, and continue the slog.

Happy weekend!

Julie Musil said...

Yes! I just write down notes, then keep plugging along on my current work. I can't work on more than one thing...I get too distracted!

Angela Ackerman said...

With me, I find new ideas are a bit like (and I know this is a totally gross analogy!) scabs. Basically, if I get an idea and don't pick at it, then it will hold just find and not distract me from the current work. But, if I poke and prod and pick, that's it...then I'm stuck trying to decide old or new.

Told you it was gross! LOL

Angela @ the Bookshelf Muse

dirtywhitecandy said...

New ideas have to be taken notice of - let's face it, all of the best ideas come when you're not trying to think of them. (Or all mine do.) If I'm working on something else at the time, I rattle off a rough document in Word to keep the spirit of the idea, but I don't read over it or anything until I've done with the work I'm meant to be doing. If my subconscious makes more suggestions, I hammer those down too, again not taking too much notice of what I'm typing or trying to do proper work on it.
Multitasking like that can be rather good - I find my best ideas come unbidden like this. One half of hte brain doing 'proper' work, the other having fun.

Lisa Potts said...

This happens to me a lot. I normally will stop to jot down one main idea or a quick character sketch so I can come back to it later. If I don't get something about it down on paper, it just dissolves.

Jen Daiker said...

My new ideas marinate in my head until they're ready to be written. The synopsis is what I normally write first.... as soon as that's on paper I have to start writing soon after otherwise the idea disappears, which drives me nuts!!!

The minute I write something down the idea will be lost on paper... which stinks!

Sheila Deeth said...

Best medicine was always walking the dog. Now, lacking dog, I'm looking for a convenient neighbor's dog. Ideas that blow away on the green usually come back looking better once their shine's been brushed away.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Oh, yeah! And it usually happens around November 15 when I'm feverishly working on a novel for NaNo!

Janice said...

Normally I keep writing until my story is finished. But some times I have to stop and start writing on something different, then after a bit I can go back and finished the one I had stopped writing on.

Janice~