Dear Brain, Please Shut up. Sincerely, One with too little time.

Not too long ago, I remember worrying that at one point I’m going to run out of ideas and I’ll run around like a chicken with its head cut off in an attempt to figure out something to write. At that time I was working on just two novels (one that was on hiatus until I could figure out what to do with the main characters, and the other I was struggling to hold it at the seams), and I thought, “Oh god, is this it? After I finish writing these two stories, will I have nothing to write?”

Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about that for long. In fact, I started worrying about having too many ideas.

Lately, my brain has been throwing a lot of ideas at me at the most random of moments. Dreams, conversations, pictures… I’ve been drawing inspiration from everything, even my procrastination gave me ideas! One day I was moving at my own leisure between two novels, and the next I was trying to juggle no less than 8 plots. Every character wants to have its say, each one of them wants a turn in the spotlight. They no longer want to remain ideas; they want to be translated into words. My head is crowded with people who are trying to poke their way out… Ash, Petra, Luke, Penelope, Faye, Dexter and many others; they all have stories to tell, and they’re getting impatient. But between juggling my work and my life, I find that I don’t have a lot of time to actually sit and write.

I try to tell them to wait, but their voices drown out my words. Some of you may think I’m being melodramatic, but others who’ve been in the same situation will know what I’m talking about… the constant desire to write, the itch to start something new, the plotting and twisting around in your head…

But I’m holding my ground and sating the characters by allowing them to play around in my head, and occasionally trying to flesh out their stories. At one point in my life I used to start new stories every other day, regardless of how many WIPs I still had, and the result? Many, many unfinished stories that are sitting in a box somewhere and will probably never find their endings.

But now I know I have to finish at least one of my WIPs before I can even consider starting a new novel. One novel, titled The Muse Bunny, currently stands at 77 thousand words, and the only thing that’s stopping me from writing the final two or three chapters is the fact that I love both my antagonist and protagonist too much to decide who should “win” at the end.

But I’m working on that now. I recently resumed writing TMB, and even though I still have no clear idea about the direction I’m taking, I know the characters will take me there eventually. Truly at times they seem to be writing this story, as I started it out with just a mere idea and no prior planning. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to finish it within the next month. Now that I’ve published one book, I’m eager to publish another.

My questions for you are: do you finish one story before starting another, or do your characters always manage to overpower you? How frequently do you get ideas for new books?

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14 thoughts on “Dear Brain, Please Shut up. Sincerely, One with too little time.

  1. OMG yes! My head has all these different conversations going around and I have even found that while working on one story, I’ll mistakenly use the hero or heroine from another story! I went back through for edits on one book (heroine’s name is Chris) and realized I kept typing Amy (heroine from a different book!) And yes, I went through the same thing about not knowing if I’d have another idea for a story and now like you, I’ve got at least 4 going on, in my head mostly, I’m resisting the urge to write them just yet. Good luck and just keep writing!

    • Oh dear. I can’t say I’ve ever mixed up characters before, though one of my characters didn’t creep into one of my exam papers in a moment of distraction, haha. But this is what makes writing so interesting! Good luck to you too, Karen! =D

  2. I too have about 7 novels in my head at the moment. I am trying very, very hard to just write one at a time, but the ideas keep flooding in for each book! Oh well, I still think it is better than having no ideas! :)

    • Same here! It’s proving very difficult, but so far I’m managing! And yes, much much better. I don’t mind how many ideas there are as long as they stay there. xD

        • I do that as well. Lately I’ve been using the Snowflake Method for that; it’s a great way of organizing ideas. =]

  3. It sounds like you have the same “problems” with writing that I have: too many stories and the characters who tell the story. Too often I feel like I am merely the typist rather than the writer but I cannot complain. At least I have never had anything vaguely resembling writers’ block.

    I have a working list of 120 different titles and I generally write on ten different novels a week. When the urge gets real hectic, I may work feverishly on primarily one, but I still seem to add a few thousand words to some others during the week.

    Maybe I should work on focusing, but then it would really be too much like work and I much prefer having fun with this.

    Enjoyed your blog!

    • Well as long you’re able to give your stories equal attention I don’t think there’s anything wrong with working on several titles at once! The problem with me is that if I start working on different stories I’ll most likely neglect the others (for two or three years), so I have to focus.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my blog, and good luck with your writing! =D

  4. Zen, Thank you for liking my blog. I like your blog, too (& I;m not just being polite) and your post about characters popping up in your brain all the time was great. My writing sometiimes lives and grows in my brain for a long time before it ever hits paper. Like you, I have several story ideas started and none of them finished. Some times I just write short stories but the characters take on a life of their own and sometimes they demand more exposure.
    Tori McRae

    • Aww, thank you; that means a lot to me. =] And I don’t think any characters would be satisfied with short stories because it means less time in the spotlight; I always feel that some characters I’ve written in short stories or gave them minor roles try to poke their way into other novels one way or another!

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