Shiny New Project Syndrome

Otherwise known as ‘Half a Dozen Unfinished Stories’ it’s the flipside of not having enough inspiration. It’s that case where you have too many ideas, and not enough focus to get one down before the next one pushes its way to the front.

Stories take a lot of work. Between the actual writing, necessary research and the editing, it takes a huge amount of work to grow a full story out of a simple idea. In that way, it’s very much like dealing with a seed. And like plants, ideas have numerous ingenious way of fighting with each other in ways that are practically invisible. Shiny New Project Syndrome occurs when one idea begins to succeed and strangle, starve, poison or overtake your current idea. How do you keep your idea garden in order when you’ve got more sprouting ideas than you do room?

Trim thoroughly. Remember that not every idea will pan out. If it sounds like a really cool idea but isn’t generally something you read, watch or write, chances are that it’s not something that would hold your interest and is probably best left to either brew in your subconscious a while longer, or to fade off for now.

Jot it down. Take a note on what the idea is. This might be a brief couple of sentences or even a couple of bullet points. Try to keep it short so that it doesn’t overtake your current project. I’ve found it helpful to keep a notebook exclusively for this idea.

Give yourself permission to write. The key to this one is not to give yourself a lot of time! Ten or fifteen minutes is usually a perfect amount of time to free write and spit out a little bit of new material for the new idea without wholeheartedly losing focus on your current project.


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