Dealing With Too Many Ideas Syndrome

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I hate my brain. The second I posted the preorders for Firewing yesterday, it presented me with ideas…for three more Yirath novels. As a note, I was planning for Firewing to be the only Yirath novel. But nope. So, they’re added to the to-do list.

(Please spread my Medium stories so I don’t have to work as much and can get all these books written).

I have chronic TMIS.

TMIS stands for Too Many Ideas Syndrome. When people worry about me stealing their ideas, I can only say, “Don’t worry, I have more than I can write anyway.”

When people ask where I get my ideas…there’s several reasons why writers hate that question.

So, how do we deal with too many ideas syndrome?

Patience, Grasshopper

Nobody can write fifteen books at once. You might get to all fifteen books, but you can’t write them all at the same time.

It’s very important to train your brain to focus and not chase the next shiny idea that comes into its brain.

My suggestion is to write down each new project as it comes to mind, but put it in the queue rather than switching to it. If it’s not interesting anymore by the time you get to it, that’s a sign it wasn’t a good idea in the first place.

If it is a good idea then holding off on it will make it mature and be even better.

Theme Your Days

This doesn’t work for me, but it does for some: If you must work on multiple projects at the same time, devote an entire day to each one. This stops you from switching your brain between ideas too rapidly and reduces multitasking fatigue.

So, for example, you might work on novel one on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and two on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or maybe Thursdays is Short Story Day.

Again, this doesn’t work for me, I do better sitting down with an idea and writing it to conclusion, writing the next one, then coming back to edit the first one.

Which brings us to:

Novels Are a Loaf of Bread

Your books need to rest and sit to be any good. So one way to deal with TMIS is this:

Write a novel.

Then write a second novel.

The come back and edit novel 1.

Then write novel 3.

You get the picture. Write, edit, write, edit. Your brain stays fresh from switching between projects and each novel gets time to rest before/between edits. (I usually do four editing passes on a novel, two on my own, then the beta pass, then finally my editor).

And you can also pull out your short story idea book while your novel is resting.


Don’t panic and remember your towel. If you have too many ideas, that just means…that you will never have writer’s block, right? Well, almost never…

(Why is it that when I have a huge book of ideas somebody sends me an anthology prompt and nope, got nothing).

Written by

Freelance writer, freelance editor, novelist and short story writer. Jack of many trades.

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