When you've been working on a project for an extended amount of time and you have a new idea: Do you:
Put the first project on hold to start the new one?
Throw notes down, not to forget the new one and finish the first?
Try to work on both at the same time w/o taking away from either of them creatively?
May 11th, 2007, 04:39 PM
This is a problem I think many writers encounter.
Although the urge to start something fresh and new is often strong, you're probably best off sticking with your original project. One finished project is better than two half-finished projects. ;)
May 11th, 2007, 05:01 PM
I agree with James. However, sometimes I'm able to implement that idea into my own story, which can help get through sluggish periods in my writing.
May 11th, 2007, 07:11 PM
New ideas should be written down somewhere. Never go anywhere without something to write with and on. At the very least, a cheap notepad or a hipster pda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipster_PDA) and a pen. Either keep an index card box labeled "Ideas" or use a PIM program like TreeLine (http://www.bellz.org/) to store them.
Sometimes a new idea you can use right away - but you don't want to distract from an ongoing project unless you've got a serious case of writer's block.
btw, best hipster pda I've seen is index cards clipped onto a small piece of wood. Sturdy but feels sort of like an Amish PDA.
May 12th, 2007, 12:12 AM
I concur with the opinions above. Definitely keep track of any ideas that crop up. As long as you've got the pertinent details saved somewhere, you can probably fire up the old neurons to connect the dots when you get back to it later.
As James L says, one finished project is worth more than two half-finished ones. I speak with the authority of one with dozens of unfinished projects. ^_^ It's important to get through whatever you're working on, but if you've got the time for it, it won't kill you to piddle around one one of those other ideas when progress gets sluggish. Sometimes you do need to step away from a project for a little bit. If there's something productive you can do during that time, more power to you.
May 13th, 2007, 05:05 AM
I think it would be a mistake to work on two projects at once, because a deep, long project such as a novel needs undivided attention. You wouldn't read two books at once, would you? (well, I wouldn't!)
When I have an idea I find it hard to leave the world I've created - I do come up with a lot of new ideas, but I jot them down or think about them until they are commited to memory. I have rough ideas for 2 more novels set in the world of the novel I'm writing at the moment, but there's no way I'd even think about starting to write it. It just gives you encouragement to finish your current work so you can get on to the next one!
May 13th, 2007, 11:57 PM
Alternatively, you may consider merging both ideas. Take the best parts from both projects and create a third, more compelling story. This way you can retain much of your previous efforts while incorporating what got you so excited to start the new project.
May 14th, 2007, 12:12 AM
I'm way too far along and involved with what I've started to merge it with anything. I don't want drastic changes to that extent to the work I've put in to it. So I guess for now, the new idea will sit on a burner and simmer till I can get it to boil :)
May 14th, 2007, 02:03 AM
As long as you've got it written down somewhere, that idea will be waiting for you when you get back to it.
May 16th, 2007, 08:14 PM
As someone who reads several books at the same time (picking a new up and putting another down whenever the mood strikes), I would see no problem with working more than one project at a time.
Sometimes, if you are up to your elbows in a massive project, you need a break, take a break from that project to clear the palette and return to it with fresh eyes and vigor.
While one finished project is better than any dozen incomplete projects, that project might become much better with a little distance and perspective that can only be gained from focusing on something else for a while and then coming back to it.
Different people work in different ways. My wife gets into a project full guns blazing--works day and night for several days or weeks at a time, then burns out and walks away from it for a while.
I tend to plod along, doing small amounts of work each day on something for weeks or months at time. But even so, I have now reached a point in my currnt work where I am taking a bit of break on a project and letting myself come back to it in a little while.
The best idea is to figure out what works best for you...and that may take some practice and tweaking.
When I get random ideas, I try to let them fester in my mind for a little before I write them down. If they have any kind staying power or potential, I will remember them and develope them as I cogitate on the current project. If they slip away into the foggy reaches of my mind, well then they wouldn't amount to much.