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stay on course or go with the flow

I think the hardest thing about pursuing my career as a writer has been staying consistent. As a multi-passionate person, putting everything I have into a single endeavor has always been extremely difficult for me. That is why it took me almost seven years to jump in with both feet and really commit to becoming an author. I always “played around” with the idea and started many manuscripts, but it was just so inconceivable to me to just pick one thing and do that and only that forever. 

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but in the spirit of complete transparency, I want you to know that sometimes I still struggle with that commitment. I find that my mind is constantly bombarded with other new and equally exciting story ideas in a variety of genres that I think would be equally as cool to write about. These periods of idea generation come on in a creative frenzy and it is hard to just simply write them down in an idea journal and then consign them to a drawer. (or computer folder in my case).

I have heard of the all too common problem of writer’s block, but is there a term for idea overload? In those moments sometimes I seriously wonder if I should really focus on staying the course and continuing my current contemporary romance work-in-progress, or should I add another story in a completely different genre to the mix and just go with the flow and see what happens. What if I am on the wrong track and another story or genre would be better for me to write?

Fortunately, I have come to learn that I don’t have to take action on every idea. It is okay to just get them out of my head and jot them down for future review. So, what I have been doing lately that really seems to help me is to take about 15 minutes or so and flesh out the basics of any new idea in an idea journal, taking it as far as I can in that time frame, while I am experiencing these bursts of creative energy. This allows me to go with the flow, temporarily at least, and see if there is enough meat there to lead to a future manuscript, without wasting too much time, and without pulling me away from my current project.

Then when it’s time to come up with an idea for my next novel, I can simply flip through my idea journal for ideas. This process makes sure that no idea is ever wasted and keeps me from getting derailed from my current story

Have you had times where you felt conflicted about staying the course or going with the flow? I’d love to hear how you handled it in the comments.

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