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Multiple Projects vs. “Shiny New Idea Syndrome”

Hey everyone! I want to thank you all for watching the interview yesterday. Several of you were there while it was live, and I received emails from lots of you who watched it later! It’s still available for a few more hours on @ashleighs.books Instagram page if you’d like to watch it. I believe there’s a twenty-four hour limit, so it will likely disappear somewhere between 4 pm – 5pm CST.

After the interview, I realized there was a topic I wanted to dive into a little deeper. One of the questions Ashleigh asked was whether or not I put projects aside if I get a new, better idea. My friend calls this “Shiny New Idea Syndrome.”

I do not do this, and here’s why:

  1. I’m usually on a tight schedule. Often, I’m in the middle of a month that I’ve scheduled for writing a particular book. If I cheat on my book, the book I must finish won’t get done.
  2. It’s the whole “the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence” thing. If I’m having these new alluring, shiny ideas, it likely means I’m stuck in my current book and I need to figure out what’s going on. It means my book is in trouble, and I need to fix it. Example: The Silver and Orchids companion novel. It was a book in trouble, and setting it aside didn’t help. The shiny new ideas were nothing more than a symptom of a struggling project.

What I didn’t mention in the video is that I ALWAYS have multiple projects going at once. You can just take a look at my current projects page and see them all hanging out. So what’s the difference between several active books and a “Shiny New Idea?”

For me, solid ideas don’t appear mid-project–and if they do, I just put them aside to return to later, and they’re content to chill until I can get to them. I often begin experimenting and plotting during my off time–and by off time, I mean when I’m not scheduled to be actively writing. A great example is the fairy tale I started in December. I was technically on break, but the idea struck, and I had time to play with it. I ended up writing about 15,000 words, and then January rolled around, and it was time to work on my scheduled book.

I set the fairy tale aside–not because I had a new, better idea–but because it wasn’t time for me to actively work on it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the story. I will be able to leap right back in with no issues because the book wasn’t sickly. It just wasn’t time for me to work on it any longer. Later in the year, it will get it’s own block of time. And because I took time to play with it when I had an opening, I know it’s a good project that’s worth scheduling in later.

Okay, so that’s how I work. Does that mean everyone must work that way? Nope. Does that mean all professional writers work that way? Absolutely not. That’s just how my process looks.

And what if you’re just starting out, and you’re learning your voice? You haven’t published anything, but you want to–it’s the goal. What then?

That’s completely different, and I wish I would have mentioned that in the video. When you’re first getting started, experimenting is everything. It’s how you find your style, your favorite genres, your voice. Run with ideas, see where they take you. Truth be told, you’re probably going to have a book that’s never going to be published. Just about all the professional writers I’ve ever talked to have projects that will never, ever make it onto Amazon. I certainly do.

That’s normal–it’s part of the process. In fact, it’s almost a requirement. ;)

I hope that helps! If you have questions, let me know!

Wishing you the best,

Shari

2 thoughts on “Multiple Projects vs. “Shiny New Idea Syndrome””

  1. Love this post! I didn’t get a chance to see the live video 😬 but this topic is one of my biggest struggles. I have so many story ideas that come to me at random moments, and usually I’m good with setting them aside for later. The one time I actually abandoned a project for a new one (which, I am sorry to say 😂 happened only last week), it was definitely because I was stuck on the old one. Buuuut I made the decision not to let writing bea cause of stress in my life, not until college graduation, since I still have high school and teenager-y life stuff to deal with! So, now I’m working on my new project, which has a much better-prepared outline, and who knows where that will take me!

    Like

    1. Hi Merie!

      I absolutely stand behind your decision to not let writing become a stress point in your life! Right now, definitely enjoy all that teenager-y stuff (I love that!), soak it all in, and write for the love of it. You are at the absolute best point in your life to be creative and not let any of your stories tie you down! Keep writing–keep putting those ideas on paper. They will be invaluable to you for the rest of your life! Best of luck on your next project! It sounds like it’s going to be awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

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