Every Sunday I take my wife out to breakfast and we talk about books. Over breakfast this past Sunday, I mentioned to her a new idea for a novel that I’m working on in the back of my mind. Of course she rolled her eyes at me…anyone who knows me knows my ADHD mind keeps coming up with ideas that never really go anywhere. I have books upon books full of notes for novels that I will probably never write but this got me thinking.
Any of us that have ever picked up the proverbial pen and turned that dream into a novel know the importance of focusing and completing the task. As my wife is always telling me, “You need to focus on your series before you start anything else”. I mean she has a point, if I move on to something else, I probably wont ever finish it.
However, I find that one thing that’s commonly overlooked is that we should be always looking to the future. What are you going to write after you finish that series? Is this going to be it? Are you going to only focus on this series, with spinoffs and other points of view or are you going to do something completely different? If you want to make writing a career you need to take the moment when inspiration hits to get down as much as you can.
This may seem daunting and you may ask yourself how can I focus on all these ideas at once? Now generally, I’m not the one to say this, but your best bet is organize, organize, organize. What I find works best for me is to grab my trusty old Moleskine and cary it everywhere. When inspiration hits, I write down the following:
- What you were doing that inspired the idea (to re-create the mood when it comes time to write)
- The basic goal of the story
- As much detail as you can stand.
This way when the time comes and you have to start anew, you already have the foundation built for a fantastic tale. I may never get to write all the stories I have swirling around in my head, but I will also never run out of ideas.