The magic of the new writing idea

Allison Tait blog
Posted on September 16, 2013

photo[8]I am in that wonderful place that is the lull between writing projects.

I have finished several things, all at once, as I tend to do, and now I am taking a breath and – and here’s the joy – deciding what to do next.

I have several ideas for different things.

I could write a second middle-grade fiction book.

I could take the three chapters I have completed of a new novel and get stuck into that.

I could look at all the notes I wrote down sometime during last year’s NaNoWriMo when my burst of creativity begat an idea for a whole different story.

The lure of the new writing idea can be so strong.

I remember attending a talk with author Kate Forsyth earlier this year when she was asked if she’s ever distracted by a new idea mid-project.

“Always,” she answered.

I don’t know a single writer who does not have a much-better (read: brilliant) idea for a new book about halfway through a current WIP. When you’re slogging your way through the middle of a story, any and every idea looks bright and shiny.

The best advice I ever received about this particular moment is to focus on what you’re doing. Write down that bright, shiny new idea and then get back to the slog.


How Kate Forsyth avoids getting distracted by a new writing idea

“I write down every single thing I can think of in a big notebook,” said Kate. “I draw pictures and maps and write detailed character descriptions. And then I close the book and put it in a drawer.”

When the time comes – the lull in proceedings, such as I am experiencing now – she simply pulls out that notebook (or two or three, for she is prolific in her ideas as well as her words) and starts writing. So she never has to wonder what she’s doing to do next, for there is always a project waiting in the wings.

“And that’s why my publisher loves me,” said Kate.

I’m going to shuffle through my projects in my head for a week or two (AKA The School Holidays) and then I’ll be ready to begin again.

With something bright and shiny and new.

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  1. Sam Stone

    I always have something churning away in my head keeping me awake at night.
    Enjoy the holidays.

  2. Emily

    I don’t know about the ‘brilliant’ part, but the new idea part, certainly. Constantly.

    • Allison Tait

      You never know which one will be brilliant…

  3. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)

    Yes!!! A new idea made itself known to me a few weeks ago so I busily put it all down on paper. I now need to decide if I should start on this new idea or start editing my first draft of my first novel that has been resting. Or both! Would you suggest I could do both? Or just focus on one?

  4. John James

    I’m in the middle of working on what I hope will be my first published book – but a few weeks ago I had an idea for another book pop into my head – it was all there – the whole plot, the themes, the characters – and I suspect this new idea is even better than the book I’m currently working on…

    So I wrote a quick two page synopsis – and then put it away – it will still be there when I finish my first book… and if the book I’m currently working on can’t get published, at least I know I have an even better book waiting to be given life! 🙂

  5. Susanna Freymark

    I always have another idea- or ten while I am working on a project. it is like a test to my commitment. Like now I am working on my second novel but thoughts for my third keeping popping into my head. I tell it to wait. yes, sadly i spend a lot of time talking and arguing with myself. a writer is never lonely.

  6. Melissa

    I know the feeling of new ideas all too well – I have so many starts and notes for projects because inspiration hits usually when I don’t want it!

    • Allison Tait

      At least you have all those notes!

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