How To Handle Too Many Ideas Syndrome #Writers #WritersLife

I suffer from Too Many Ideas Syndrome.

This syndrome may sound great and a few of you might be raising a ‘seriously? – I can’t believe you are moaning about this’ eyebrow at me.

In my case it is stressful, exhausting and causes me a serious amount of writer frustration.
There are not enough hours in the day to deal with the zillion story ideas that my mind fires at me.

I have folders and folders of unfinished stories which is a symptom of Too Many Ideas Syndrome. You see my brain gets bored easily and loves to go chase something else when the going gets tough or something loses its sparkle.

A hyper creative mind needs to be controlled as nothing ever gets produced. I have learnt this the hard way.

So after spending hours being insanely jealous of other writers who actually see a project through, yelling at myself ‘please stop bombarding me!’ and being constantly frustrated I have taken the following steps below.

You will all be glad to know that I am starting to see some progress.

  1. Accept that the majority of the ideas need more thought and are just wisps of stories. It has taken a long time for me to reach this conclusion. They are not fully fledged stories. I have done a few experiments on some and proved to myself that these ideas are paper thin in terms of value. Once I accepted this the ideas were easier to deal with. It didn’t feel like I was missing out on something.
  2. Write them down. I am using an app on my phone called Evernote which lets you create lists and notes. Every idea when it pings through is recorded on here. Initially when I started out trying to control my mind I wrote everything down on bits of paper…you should have seen my handbag…looked like small furry creatures were building some sort of nest inside it!
  3. Let them go. Once the ideas are recorded I have learnt that you just have to…let them go. This is the hard bit. You have to stop holding onto them and just let them go. Once you are in a position to work with them you can return. Remember you are only saying goodbye to wisps of stories, nothing concrete.
  4. Focus on one story at a time. This is so hard. If I don’t do this I will never move forward with my writing. I have to pull myself back a lot from chasing after new ideas.
  5. Repeat this quote to yourself. ‘Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless’ – Mary Kay Ash. It is not about how many ideas you have it is about implementing them.
  6. Stop talking about all of your ideas, just talk about one. I love to talk and I have zillions of ideas. I am making a conscious effort to just talk about the idea I am working on. Nothing else.
  7. Meditation. This is my secret weapon and has calmed my imaginative mind down. It is part of my new daily Miracle Morning routine (which I will blog about soon) and I have seen a drastic reduction in idea generation.

I am now a ‘one-story’ woman with a bulging list of ideas on Evernote. Sigh!

If you are a fellow sufferer let me know how you are handling it?

Have a great day!

Photo: UpSplash


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Still waiting for the Sleepless in Seattle film sequel. Romcom Author. Book Blogger. Mum of teens. Owned by a golden Labrador.

86 thoughts on “How To Handle Too Many Ideas Syndrome #Writers #WritersLife

  1. Oh I know what you mean, totally!!!! I use a notes app too to record ideas….very helpful. The letting go bit, until you can really pursue the idea is tougher!!

  2. About bloody time somebody blogged about this syndrome. It could be described as a form of creative compassion fatigue. “Please, no more creative ideas,” an overburdened mind may say. We could, perhaps, start a writers’ collective in which we post our arresting opening lines (that’s how my brain works) and farm it out to others. We could earn credits by taking someone’s creative ideas to fruition; and then use those credits to pay for writerly tasks (research, for example) that we are too busy to undertake ourselves. Cheers, Soheil

  3. Definitely a fellow sufferer. Most often the people who face the brunt of it are my facebook friends and Twitter followers. It’s a hard life.

  4. I know exactly where you are coming from, as I am the same way. Most of the time I feel like that snake, perpetually eating his own tail, going round and round but never actually getting anywhere. So desperate to find that magic something that will make a miracle happen, I suspect it will never happen unless I find a better MO.

  5. Yes I’m never usually short of an idea but becasue of that I don’t write them down unless they hit me especially strongly. I let them go, relying on there being another when I need it. I think if I wrote them all down I’d be awash. And go potty. I suppose, if at some point in the future the ideas begin to dry up I’ll be more careful but sanity dictates, as with children, you let them leave home.

  6. This is one of my problems. I did notes, notebooks, a bunch of things. Finally I created a living document for story ideas. I’ve learned that one has to reappear two or three times to get on the roster. When I eventually write one of them, I clear it off the list. Short stories and micro-fiction are great ways to use them up.

  7. I feel overwhelmed by all the wonderful ideas I have all the time. Like you said, though, they are wisps of stories that I need to flesh out more before I begin writing. Right now I’m focusing on editing my first manuscript (again) so that I can start querying it again. Once I’m through with that, I will get back to editing my second book. When that’s done, perhaps I will get to pick up one of my wisps and turn it into something amazing 🙂

    Ink & Stitches –

  8. Dang, I DO write ideas in a notebook and then can’t find the one I want. On the other hand, I get bored with a project and itch to start another. I’m good in the starting gate, but reaching the finish line is h.a.r.d. o_O
    Thanks for the poke. 🙂

  9. I suffer the same affliction. I know have a small ring binder with index cards, organised by genre. When I have an idea I pop them down on a card and file it away for when I am a) sane, and b) have time. I suspect I will be waiting a very long time for both things to happen.

  10. Oh goodness, I can totally relate. Sadly, I have this problem with more than just my writing. Every aspect of my life is ruled by “OMG lemme try a new thing!” and it’s so annoying. I’ll definitely have to try your meditation tip, and I think I’m going to print that quote out and tape it to my laptop lol.

  11. I’m a bit like Geoff, and will only write them down if they keep nagging me. That way, many go through the flood gate and I’lll never know if they were good or not. However, the ones I have pursued have just about all been well received when I’ve published them. I can’t multi-task either, so that helps.

  12. “I have folders and folders of unfinished stories…” Is there an echo in here? Yes. So much yes. I never get writer’s block from lack of ideas, that’s for sure. But, you’re right, they’re wisps.

    P.S. How’s Evernote working for you?

  13. Thank you, I needed to read this today. I have four notebooks on the go at the moment, in various bags and places. I woke up, what seemed like a million times in the night, thinking “I should write that down” it would be a good thing to remember for a story/this story. But not being awake enough to actually do so as so often happens I woke up this morning and the thoughts had disappeared, so frustrating 😦 Number 4 is so difficult.

  14. I know what you mean. I have too many ideas floating around in my head. I need to jot them down and let them marinate. There are some ideas I want to make work, but I know they won’t. As you said, it’s better to let them be.

  15. Definitely in the same boat. I’ve been jumping between different ideas for years now, and finally decided that enough’s enough. I’m tired of seeing other people complete things and get them out there in the world. I want to as well. So I’m using that as my motivation to ignore the wisps. (Good name for them, by the way.) 🙂 And, yes, I find that writing them down helps too.

  16. Great post! You’re not alone in this. I too am a sufferer of Too Many Ideas Syndrome. Thanks for the suggestions. I keep hoping the ideas would turn themselves into stories without my help but I haven’t mastered that yet.

    Have a great weekend!!

  17. Puts my hand up. Yes, I`m a fellow sufferer and have notebooks and notebooks and documents on file for all the ideas. I`ve read your post with great relief and interest and will try from now on to be one story, one idea at a time. Having said that though, I do find that if I get stuck, I go onto one of those idea story shorts and do some on that one till I get unstuck. Thanks for posting.

  18. I’m stuck with the exact same thing. Only my ideas don’t just stop there, it’s stories, drawings, photography, and so much more. I’m still a student in school, and I tend to freeze up when I’m overwhelmed, so you can probably imagine (or not) how frustrating this can be for me. Because of this I always feel like I have no time, and then I leave things unfinished, or I rush, which provides a whole new frustration. I tend to handle this by breathing very deeply and slowly and allowing myself to focus on just that, my breathing, and until the creative energy subsides. Then I continue with what I was doing and finish it. When I’m finished, there’s often not enough time to start implementing the ideas, and by then I have also forgotten most of them. So I write down what I can still remember then hold on to the paper until it annoys me and throw it away without regrets. That, to me has been the most effective way to handle too many ideas.

  19. This is actually VERY wonderful and helpful! I was in the process of this, writing down but I had never thought about ‘letting go’. It was just there. Now, I have to implement this new process. Likely, it’ll help.

  20. WOWWWW !! It’s such a relief to learn I’m not the only head in this writer’s game that is filled with an overload of story ideas.
    Yes I have story ideas saved on my laptop, a page or two and sometimes as much as a whole chapter.
    I scroll through Pinterest for hours saving images onto new boards for those story ideas and I have a notebook I carry around with new story titles waiting to be written. The memo pad on my phone is overflowing with sentences and paragraphs of story ideas that hit my brain whenever I can’t sleep.
    All too often I have written entire new stories in my head lying in bed at night when I can’t sleep, only to wake in the morning to a few scattered memories of that story which are written down in broken disjointed sentences waiting to be reborn.
    Thanks for sharing this post and making me feel normal, especially after reading the comnents.

  21. I am always leaping out of bed when I’m watching telly, and nipping into the living room (now my writing room!) to scribble stuff down…. yeah, I do it the old way, with those quaint old pens and notebooks, ha ha!!! Anything good gets transferred to my ‘story ideas’ folder, but few get written. I need three of me to attend to them all!

  22. Where do I start….Well, I did 2 weeks ago and logged everything that was useful or had a valid reason for being logged ..My pile of screwed up paper just kept growing it was like Everest. My new resolution I scribble still but every morning I go through my scribbles from the day before and log it appropriately. I have noticed that I scribble less and log more. My next task is those notebooks ……mmmmmm

  23. Screwed up paper if asked is Art! *sniff*. Notebooks.. just don’t talk about the notebooks, i need a decoder or to pay an administrator for six months to find order. Failling that. “Back Away From The Notebooks” 🔪📚📣

  24. So I’m not the only one!!!!! Lol. I always have way too many ideas which is no good for trying to write a novel…I have probably 4 or 5 other ideas for a novel…so far every time I get an idea I write it down in google docs or on a sticky note in my computer but I find it hard to forget about them…I will work at letting go of them for a while until I’m done my current novel. Thanks for the post; it helped a lot! Sincerely, Beginner Novelist

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