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Too many ideas, maybe?

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Too many ideas, maybe?

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  • #145999
    Andrew Schmidt
    @andrew

    Hey everyone, I have a question for you all.

    Do any of you writers ever feel like you have so many ideas running around in your head that your brain is all cluttered up and you can’t think clearly? Like, in the sense that you are almost obsessively-compulsive about turning all your ideas into stories before your head explodes…

    I understand this is an unusual question, but I was just curious because I myself often wake up in the morning thinking in this pattern, to a certain degree. If I don’t at least write my ideas down occasionally, it is hard for me to sleep because I know if I don’t write them down, I will forget them in the morning.

    So, that all said, I am curious of how many of you may struggle with this… and if you overcame it, how you did it. I myself like to take a walk outside to clear my head, but it is only a temporary relief. I’m stilling working on breaking this habit, that is the obsessive-compulsive thought patterns that like to whirl around in my head all the time.

    Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
    Me: "Write every inch of your future."

    #146002
    Noah Cochran
    @noah-cochran

    @andrew

    Hey Andrew, from the many want-to-be authors or writers I’ve talked with, this seems to be a common difficulty. People have so many ideas that it seems that one of these things happen:

    They aren’t able to pick on of their ideas and just keep jumping from idea to idea.

    They try to shove too many ideas into one story.

    They start a story, stop it, and then start a new one (jumping from story to story, never finishing one, my sister is like that).

    My only advice here is that it is of paramount importance to decide on the basic gist of a story idea, and then stick with it. Stick with it to the point that you ignore all ideas that you won’t use for that story specifically. Don’t even write them down. As a Stephen King once said (and I paraphrase) “if it doesn’t stay in your head, than the idea isn’t worth keeping.” (I don’t recommend reading King’s books, but he has some great advice)

    I also have that ocean of ideas in my head, but once I decide on a story idea, I incorporate all the ideas that flow well with the story, and I either discard the rest, or tuck them away in my head for later. I then stick with that story until it is complete, and then I allow myself to think on the other story ideas.

    #146005
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @Andrew

    Good morning! (At least its morning for me)

    This happens to me all the time. People think writing is easy but it isn’t, and this is a common struggle we all face as writers. It seems like I either have a thousand different ideas in my head for 6 different plot ideas or I can’t even think of a way to describe how someone is walking.

    The way I deal with the chaotic times it to only let myself concentrate on one thing at a time. It isn’t an easy solution but it does work. Let’s say I have a million different ideas in my head for my WIP but I specifically need to figure out the details for this one fight scene. I will then sit down with a notebook (or just pace around my kitchen…) and do my best to push those other ideas out and just focus on that one fight scene.

    Just remember to take a moment to breath and calm down. Now don’t take me as some hippie but keeping your sanity is important 😉

    Also I found that talking to someone about your ideas is incredibly helpful. Maybe If you have a family member or crazy writer friend you can just unload all of your ideas on that would help. Key tip: if you do it to another writer they will NOT get annoyed but rather understand and maybe even help you out. Also if you don’t have anyone (which you can do it right here on SE so don’t say you don’t) you could simply write yourself an email. That probably sounds weird but if you act like you are writing it to someone you have to make it make sense which is helpful

    Im not sure If this was an help or not but I hope it was!

    Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you ever know who would love the person you hide.

    #146017
    Andrew Schmidt
    @andrew

    @noah-cochran

    Thanks for the advice!

    I believe I tend to be the writer, who when they have too many ideas, try to jam too many ideas into one story. I’ve been getting better at cutting off and reducing excess language and unnecessary description, but somehow extra and unnecessary “story ideas” just leap out of my head and seep into the page on the screen, especially when my brain is burnt out.

    I tell myself a lot that just because I have an idea, I don’t have to write about it. Likely, someone already has written about. For instance, there is no reason I should have a random kid show up in my story snacking on rainbow sherbet when, in fact, not only is such a picture unnecessary, but rainbow sherbet has also likely already been written about in books about ice cream, or even in articles online or in Wikipedia. Now, there is nothing wrong with inserting vivid detail in a story – that is what makes a story come to life, after all – however, I believe inserting imagery just because something exists that you want to write about will only distract from the original intent of a storyline.

    I have struggled with info dumping before. Combined with an endless supply of ideas – a lot that are, however, also bad ideas – and a keen eye for detail, depth, and complexity in everything that surrounds me, by which I am easily distracted, I tend to consume vast amounts of sensory data and, when I try to translate this sensory data to written words, that’s where I sometimes mess. But like I said before, I’m improving in this area regarding writing.


    @erynne

    Your tips are also appreciated! 😀

    I’m not sure about you, but I’m homeschooled. That means a lot more time alone. There is nothing wrong with that, and I enjoy it actually, but when I spend too much time alone, and too much time writing, my head gets a little manic on the inside and I can become slightly obsessive over every detail or idea that flitters through my mind.

    But you’re right, I do need to keep my sanity. Sometimes I need to just get out and talk to people, go for a walk, or take a spontaneous drive through Warsaw – activities like these usually help ease the inner tension inside my head.

    If you don’t find this question intrusive at all… have you ever actually almost lost your sanity before, to even a minor degree? I wouldn’t exactly say I have lost my sanity before, but sometimes I can get so hyper focused on a project, so aware of every little detail in the story and of how it all looks, that because I am so “hyper focused” I may feel very absent from the outside world, or if not entirely absent, very distracted – but only for a couple moments. I just asked this question because I was curious.

    Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
    Me: "Write every inch of your future."

    #146019
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @andrew

    Hey, thanks for reaching out on here.

    What you’re describing between your two posts here might be a health issue, so I strongly suggest talking to a doctor about your frustrations with these thoughts, if you can. You’re describing a couple big symptoms of ADHD, though that of course by no means says that you definitely have ADHD. Depending on your particular case, there are options in counseling, lifestyle choices, and medication that can help you manage the symptoms, and a doctor can help you sort these options out and find a specialist who might be able to better help than people on a forum.

    You’re doing your future self a favor by making sure you’re as healthy as you can now, so please don’t dismiss this out of hand, even if you (like I did before talking to my doctor) had a lot of misgivings about ADHD being overblown and overdiagnosed.

    For the sake of absolute clarity: I was also homeschooled, and I’ve struggled with the thought patterns you’re describing my whole life. In my particular case, the tiny bit of medication I was prescribed for ADHD has made an effectively magical difference on the days I take it, with no dependency or withdrawal issues on the days I don’t take it.

    (And if I’m right in assuming by your mention of Warsaw that you’re Polish, then you’re the second Polish person recently I’ve talked to about ADHD, haha. My maternal grandpa’s family is Polish [Kolenda], so maybe we’re distant cousins!)

    Specifically regarding your frustration with having sometimes too many thoughts, I actually strongly disagree with Stephen King’s philosophy to never write anything down. The human subconscious is like a computer constantly making connections between the things you experience, and spits out little Eureka moments from time to time, especially when you wake up in the morning. Those little insights and realizations can be incredibly valuable, but they’re so ephemeral that you’re likely to forget them unless you write them down.

    In fact, I consider this to be a powerful tool for mental and creative hygiene:

    1. Journal for ten minutes before you go to bed.
    2. Ask yourself a meaningful question right as you put your head on the pillow, whether it be about some choice you need to make in life or some plot point that’s stumping you.
    3. Keep a pen and paper beside your bed so you can journal for ten minutes upon waking each morning.

    Whenever I’ve come upon what seems like the perfect answer to one of my plot questions, this was how I came up with it.

    Combine that with making sure you get some exercise outside each day and that you have a several minute long conversation with another human being each day and you can avoid many of the issues we solitary writers can fall into, especially in winter.

    Will be praying for you, Andrew.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #146021
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @Andrew

    Im glad my tips somewhat helped!

    Yeah I’m homeschooled as well so while it is nice to be able to focus, sometimes I am just pleading for some socializing so I don’t explode.

    Hmm… it depends on how you define “insanity”

    I am a very strange person so If you get to know the real me, you will think I’m actually insane lol

    There are times when I get extremely stressed out and pretty much go insane. I won’t think straight and I cry like crazy. That’s probably the closest I’ve been to insane (not counting the times I’ve needed sleep in a bad bad way haha)

    Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you ever know who would love the person you hide.

    #146033
    Andrew Schmidt
    @andrew

    @taylorclogston,

    Hi there. Thank you. I appreciate your concern. But I don’t believe I have full-blown ADHD. About three years ago, I had to talk to this person (I think she was a psychologist or counselor; my memory is a little blurry) before I could work at this job, just for a checkup. According to her written document, I had “obsessive-compulsive and inattentive traits combined with a mild math disability.” But I did not qualify for a complete 100% OCD or ADHD diagnosis.

    My life is by no means perfect, but I am a pretty happy person overall. And a very active person with a very active imagination at that. When I am not physically active (for instance, driving a car or working out at the gym) I am always mentally active. Even if I am not writing a story, I am always thinking deeply about something, even to the point where I am not paying attention to what is happening around me. If you saw me, I would appear to be a very calm, quiet person with a somewhat blank stare – but my head is roaring on the inside. I am not shy; I just internalize things a lot.

    I’m sorry, I live in Pierceton close to Warsaw, in the U.S. State of Indiana. I’m not Polish, I’m American. But hey, that was my fault for not clarifying that. It’s all good.

    Good point on journaling there. I actually journal in a certain notebook from time to time, but I’ll begin doing it more frequently.

    If you are at all familiar with MBTI and the 16 personality types, I am an ISFP. ISFPs in general are very spontaneous and, many of them are easily distractible and usually attention spans are not their strong points (although there are always exceptions).  While the 16 personality types are only a basic outline of each type, I have found they can explain certain particular behaviors. However, with time any type can grow and overcome difficult obstacles.


    @erynne

    Oh, I’m sorry. Needing sleep is… ouch. When I lose even a couple hours of sleep, my whole demeanor can change in the day to come in rapid motion. When I get my sleep, I can be extremely happy and energetic. When I am tired, however, I can become somewhat withdrawn and… more emotional, maybe? Such emotions are usually experienced internally, and rarely do others take notice if I am upset. But that’s alright with me.

    Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
    Me: "Write every inch of your future."

    #146041
    K. A. Grey
    @k-a-grey

    @andrew Hey there! Fellow homeschool graduate here! *high-fives*  I actually have the opposite problem, where I get writer’s block for months at a time, and I can’t think of new ideas for the life of me.  Instead I get caught up in the mechanics of writing, so I edit as I go instead of just moving forward. But I can relate about the slightly obsessive-compulsive behavior.  (Do homeschoolers have a problem with this, or is it just because we’re crazy writers?😯)  I don’t think I have an obsessive-compulsive disorder either, but I can get caught up worrying over stuff that isn’t really that important either. I need to step back and ask myself if it’s really worth worrying over, because odds are, it’s okay to let it go!  Journaling, like Taylor mentioned, can be a great way to sort out those anxious feelings so you can reevaluate.  But do what works for you!  Whether it’s journaling, exercise, a spontaneous fun activity, whatever. Also, spending time in prayer.  Just handing those cares over to the Lord gets a lot of weight off my heart, because I know I can trust Him to take care of my problems much better than I can. 🙂

    Also, I don’t know if you’re a MBTI nerd like me(I’m an Infj, but sometimes test as Intj), but you could be caught in a Fi-Ni loop.  It means you get a little too withdrawn into yourself, so you might need to step back into reality  and the present by activating your senses, basically just anything that focuses on the external world rather than inside your head.  You mentioned taking a walk or drive or talking to people, and that’s actually exactly the way to help get out of the “loop,” so good job!😂 Introverted Intuition (Ni),the unconscious gut feelings, the “deeper meaning” which everything seems to have, is your tertiary function, which means that if you focus on it too much, it gets unhealthy.  Not saying you can’t use Ni, just don’t rely on it too much, because it gets, well, too much. XD

    Hopefully that made sense and helps, if not just ignore it cause I get absolutely geeky about this stuff. Okay imma just disappear now…bye☺️

    #146049
    Andrew Schmidt
    @andrew

    @k-a-grey

    Fi-Ni loop? I think I may have heard something like that before…  that would also explain why I feel the way I do, to an extent. What other interesting MBTI facts do you have, about anything in particular?

    Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
    Me: "Write every inch of your future."

    #146062
    K. A. Grey
    @k-a-grey

    @andrew if you want to learn more about the FiNi loop, you might want to check out some blogs and articles on it. I frequently visit sites like psychologyjunkie, introvertdear, and personality growth. Because I could spend hours researching this stuff. Oh, wait I do.😜 Mbti definitely isn’t the answer to very problem, but it’s a great tool for understanding personality.

    Knowing how your mind gets stuck in a loop can be really helpful, because each personality struggles with different things. My loop is ni-ti which means I get caught in “analysis paralysis”, overthinking every little thing and not moving forward.

    Also, have you heard of Frank James’s Youtube channel? He has a lot of short comedy sketches about the 16 types that i enjoy watching.

     

    #146131
    Andrew Schmidt
    @andrew

    @k-a-grey

    Alright, I’ll be sure to check them out! 😀

    When I’m caught up a FiNi loop, my brain alternates from manically exploring every nitty gritty detail of my surrounding environment (aka all the interesting stuff on my desk, all the different colors, shapes, and details of this stuff, all my fish tanks and all the motion and color inside these tanks, the sky and the clouds and how the sun changes the lighting slightly, etc.) from shutting out the outside world and writing everything down on a piece in a frenzied motion that comes to mind me.

    Whenever I come back to that piece of paper, I laugh at all the ridiculous stuff I had just written down.

    Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
    Me: "Write every inch of your future."

    #146168
    Andrew Schmidt
    @andrew

    @k-a-grey

    I also just wanted to note that I have looked up and researched the FiNi loop. I’ve only done a little research, but it revealed certain patterns that I could see in myself. So, I just want to say thank you for suggesting this source. 😀

    Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
    Me: "Write every inch of your future."

    #146170
    K. A. Grey
    @k-a-grey

    @Andrew You’re welcome! Glad I could be of some help.

    It sounds like you’re getting a bit overwhelmed with trying to capture the magnificence of the world around you.  And that’s exactly what makes our job as writers so hard, because it’s one thing to have a beautiful, perfect idea in your head, and a completely other thing to try to put it down on paper. You have to find the right words, the right descriptors, and sometimes it is very frustrating and overwhelming!  But I think it’s also good if you’re able to not take yourself too seriously and laugh at your mistakes.  Don’t give up, it’s okay if you don’t get it perfect the first time.  Keep writing cause you never know which idea might be a bestseller someday!😉 Best wishes for ya!

    #146271
    Andrew Schmidt
    @andrew

    @k-a-grey

    Thank you. It really helps sometimes when I just take a break from writing from time to time and enjoy the life and everything in it which God has created… rather than obsessing over every little detail and getting chronically distracted and drained out by analyzing every detail into little, tiny boxes.

    I like writing… in fact, writing helps sharpen my brain as well as strengthen my imagination. But I also like experiencing life itself too… writing from raw experience, after all, is an excelling source of infinite possibilities for any writer.

    All in all, I enjoyed this conversation with you all. It has helped me declutter my mind and to think more rationally in regard to this matter. So once again, I appreciate all your suggestions and comments, and I say this to every one of you who has replied to this thread.

    Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
    Me: "Write every inch of your future."

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