Sometimes my brain gets tripped up on an idea, and it takes years to undo the sprawling mess of nonsense thoughts that result from that one, core nonsense idea.
What I want to talk about today is a prime example.
This is probably going to sound unhinged for a bit––probably because it is unhinged––but here’s how I used to think:
I used to get annoyed every time I had a new idea. Because I was getting ideas faster than I could do anything with them, and they were forming a backlog that was only ever getting bigger and, someday, was likely to overtake and/or crush me. Then I was going to be dead having left a bunch of unfinished stories and projects and it would be such a waste.
I used to wish the ideas would stop for a bit. Or at least slow down so that I was getting them at a much slower rate than I was writing, and therefore I wouldn’t constantly feel torn between all of my various works in progress. If I only had one short story idea per year, for example, I could write that and then still have plenty of time to get all of the words for my novels done. Or vice versa. Ideally, I’d have a ‘one in, one out’ method of working. But only once the backlog was cleared
I genuinely used to stress myself to near sickness over this.
But here’s how I’m coming at it now: it’s a reframing issue. I don’t have a never-ending backlog that will one day topple and crush me, I have a self-replenishing bank of ideas that I can go to any time I want or need one.
A lot of writers would kill for a never-ending bank of ideas, so I need to see this for the good thing that it is and accept it, because the sooner I accept it, the happier I will be. And probably the faster I’ll write, as I’ll be less in my own way.
Previously, I wrote about how I thought about my ideas in terms of a waiting room, but I now think I need to reconceptualise that, too. Because waiting rooms are boring, sterile, stressful places, and those are not discriptors I want to associate with the creative process.
So maybe it’s more like a party.
All of my ideas are at a party, of which I am the host. It would be great if I could dance and chat and drink with each of them, and I will certainly try, but as more and more guests join in, the likelihood of spending quality time with each and every one of them decreases.
But that’s okay! The only person expecting me to have unrealistic amounts of time and energy to do all of the things is myself, and no more!
I just need to chill a bit. Not everything is so bloody dire.