06 May

The Story Idea Hoarder...

The Idea Hoarder - An Addiction to the Next New Shiny Thing...

Most of you, I imagine, have seen the TV show, Hoarders, where people collect everything and anything, and never organize or throw away any of those things, their hoard becoming an uncontrollable monster that impedes their life progress.
Slot in story ideas for a house hoard... are you seeing a connection here, my wittle furry writers???
Many wordsmiths have an addiction to the next Shiny New Idea.
Often, those writers have sky-scraper sized mounds of notebooks and half scribbled attempts on those collected ideas, but none are completely fleshed out nor finished because, yet again, another new and shiny idea presents itself. I imagine it's the equivalent of shoe or book shopping to some, and like any hoard, the pile becomes uncontrollable, and eventually paralyzing.
If a person comes into adulthood with this affliction, I'll be honest here… it's tough to un-ring that bell. 
I've tried with quite a few writers, and it becomes a hand-holding endeavor to get the writer from to A to Z on a single idea. It's not because they aren't dead smart. They are. It's a matter of having them apply two skills, muscles they don't often flex - focus and discipline.
Idea Hoarders are like squirrels on Speed.
I'd seriously rather herd cats.
Sorry for the reality check here...
And those two skills are put to the test when Idea Hoarders are left to their own devices. It's the same as letting an addicted shopper in a mall or an alcoholic in a bar, unsupervised. Idea Hoarders will find that next new shiny idea and wander away from the hard work of fleshing out the previous one.
It has a lot to do with the need to escape. 
Fun is, well, way more fun than the work needed to write an idea through to completion. That takes a semi-truck-filled load of patience and perseverance to endure the days when the words fight to hit the page, and those are aspects of the writers process never very appealing to the Idea Hoarder.
If you feel this maybe you, and in order to exist you need to be working on more than one project at a time, then you need to become very adept at Session Juggling. That's where you schedule writing sessions to work on each project at hand, and you do NOT stray from that schedule, and you do NOT work on more than one project in a given writing session.
The scheduling format can take whatever shape you want. Maybe on weeks 1 and 3 of a month, you work on Project A, and Project B is dealt with on weeks 2 and 4. Maybe within a writing week, you designate certain days to certain projects. Or maybe you add up the total amount of weekly hours devoted to writing, and you divvy them up per the many projects on hand.
THE KEY: NO project is abandoned. Each has its time in the writing sun, as it were. Each has its own working session(s), so it can be worked through and completed right to typing/writing, The End. It will take you longer to get there because you are working on multiples, but get there you WILL. No more idea hoarding.
An Idea Hoarder has to decide to recalibrate their mindset. It can't be just about hoarding ideas and not fleshing those out to a product that a reader can enjoy/seek knowledge. Ideas don't help anybody if they aren't thoroughly constructed and delivered as a completed product. Everybody can have an idea. It's what an artist DOES with that idea that counts.
HOMEWORK: If you think you're an Idea Hoarder, tonight, get serious with those shiny new tidbits of thought, and craft a weekly or monthly schedule where each new story has its allotted writing session.
I recommend no more than three ideas scheduled at any one time. Personally, I'm not a fan of multiple idea juggling, but with Idea Hoarders, compromise is the next best thing. Just ensure you schedule only what you can realistically and physically handle, so writer burnout doesn't take hold.
And just the like TV show, let's order in the dump trucks and hire the organizers to divide and conquer your schizophrenic approach to writing, and let's get a few cherished projects done... instead of them toppling over on you and burying you alive!
Okay, that last visual is a shiny new idea right there.
It's mine.
Don't hoard it! :-P

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