IWSG: Shiny New Idea Syndrome

Today’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop where insecure writers like myself can share our worries and offer advice and encouragement.  Click here to find out more about IWSG and see a list of participating blogs.

As I said in a recent post, I have a lot on my mind right now.  Good stuff.  Writing-related stuff. But still, it’s hard to focus on actual writing when I’m so distracted by writing-related ideas.

So for today’s episode of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I going to turn the floor over to my muse.  She has something she’d like to say, and maybe it’s something your muse would like to hear.

* * *

Hello, I’m James’s imaginary friend, also known as his muse. It’s totally normal for adults to have imaginary friends, especially when those adults are writers.

It seems that I have created a problem for myself and my writer.  I recently brought him a new idea.  What is this idea?  That’s not important right now.  It’s a new idea, and it’s a really good idea (if I do say so myself), and that’s all that matters right now.

That was not the reaction I was hoping for. It’s one thing for a writer to be excited about a new idea, but quite another for a writer to get overexcited. Overexcited writers are a danger to themselves, their muses, and every single character in their story worlds.

As a muse, obviously you have to bring your writer great ideas, the best ideas you can find lurking in the depths of the subconscious. I do want my writer to use this new idea.  I wouldn’t have brought it to him otherwise.  But it’s a tricky thing, getting my writer to keep things in perspective, making sure he does not neglect all his other writerly duties.

So, my fellow muses, what do you do to keep your writers in line when a shiny new idea gets them a little too excited?

28 thoughts on “IWSG: Shiny New Idea Syndrome

  1. I follow the magic. There will come a day when the new idea’s magic fades, and if I have put in the time before it does, I know I’ll finish on the memory of its magic alone. There are plenty of days, weeks, and hours without inspiration to practice discipline.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a really good way of thinking about it. I’ve felt pretty guilty about setting other projects aside, but if I hadn’t jumped at this new idea now, I might have forgotten what made it so special later. That would have been a shame.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, and happy IWSG day to you as well! I guess that’s what I’d normally do too, but this time I just couldn’t get the new thing off my mind. It was exciting, but also a little bit upsetting, because I knew I was slipping behind schedule on other important writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I usually jot down some notes in one of my umpteenth notebooks, set it aside to stew, and if I remember I had it later and in which notebook I scribbled it down, I’ll write it. Lol! Only the best stories survive my process.

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  3. I’m a meticulous note writer. The issue centers on remembering I wrote it. I started a ‘new idea’ file, which I haven’t opened in months. I have stack of written notes inches thick on my desk, that occasionally sees light of day when I’m looking for something unrelated to the idea. It’s why I’m a pantser in need of a serious intervention.

    I like your ‘tinkerbelle’ caricature for the muse. My muse is composed of mostly shadow, but has a haunting voice that keeps me up at night.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have one of those idea files too. There are notes in there that make absolutely no sense to me now, and I’ll probably never figure out what they were supposed to be. I don’t think I’ll have that problem with this new idea, though.

      The Tinker Bell aesthetic started out as an insult, actually. Someone (I wish I remembered who, but it was a long time ago) wrote a blog post about how stupid it is that certain writers talk about their muses like they’re Tinker Bell sprinkling fairy dust on their stories. I kind of liked that mental image and ended up embracing it, despite the original context.

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  4. I try to think of how a new idea can link to what I am currently working on, and see if they can add to each other. Sequel idea? Can I add supporting/foundation elements to the current project? Unrelated story? Can I trial elements of a character for the new idea in what I’m doing now? Etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So it’s actually been a little over a week since this big, new idea hit me. I don’t want to say too much yet, but I’m sort of thinking along those same lines right now. This idea might work best as the underlying foundation for all the other stuff I was already working on. Took me a while to figure that out, though, and I’m still hammering out the details of how this will work.


      1. I reckon everything supporting everything else is a good concept because it means that every new idea your pesky muse brings to you can actually increase your excitement for what you are already doing. Wanting to finish everything so you can see it all working together, rather than moving from idea to idea! As you say though, it can take a fair amount of thinking to see how it can all fit together! I work backwards for that: where do I want to end up? What order do events need to happen in to make that happen? What needs to be introduced/added to what I am currently working on to help set that up?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll admit that my thoughts have strayed to another story I’ve had on the back burner for a few years now. I suspect it has to do with the fact that I’m kind of stuck on my current WIP right now. I might have even jotted down a few new ideas, but that’s it. I have to finish the current WIP or I’ll never finish anything..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you know what’s best within you’re own writing system, so it sounds to me like maybe working on something different could be good for you. Sometimes when I’m stuck with one project, doing something else for a bit helps clear my head. Then when I come back to the original project, the solution to my problems seem obvious. At least that’s been my experience.


  6. Write it down, tape it on the wall, go back to the work at hand. (Especially if you’re on a deadline! 🙂 Now, if the work at hand is gasping for breath, and you’ve been delivered a mighty fine idea, then pursue. Or work on both. I did this about 18 months ago and I’m self-pubbing the side-idea next week. You never know where an idea can take you. Just adding, you’re brave to let your muse take the mic, JS Pailly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I think it’s a fun way to talk about writing. And sometimes trying to write from the muse’s perspective makes me see things about my writing process that I would’ve otherwise missed.

      I did end up missing a deadline, but it was a self-imposed deadline, so I don’t think too much harm has been done.


  7. Usually, my shiny new ideas end up as short stories, so I pursue away. If it’s a larger scale idea, then it usually gets incorporated into the massive epic fantasy series I’m already working on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is one of those larger scale ideas, and I think I’m going to end up doing just that: incorporating it into the big epic thing I was already doing. I just have to work out the details of how to do that.


  8. Have a bit of the same problem. My muse would give me new story ideas before I’m even finish writing a current story idea. Usually have to practice patience by siphoning the idea out of my head and into a document. Which then gets filed away in a story idea folder until I’m ready to tackle it.

    Liked by 1 person

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