As a writer, there is no telling when inspiration will strike. So what should you do when a new story idea hits out of nowhere? Well, you really only have three options:
- Write it
- Shelve it
- Toss it
You will need to consider a few different factors when deciding how to handle your latest story idea. Whether you are already writing a book, plotting a new project or giving yourself a small break from writing will all impact your decision.
So you think you want to move forward with writing your latest story idea. That’s great! While you could go ahead and dive right in, you’ll probably find it helpful to do a little legwork first.
Start by getting to know your characters and creating (at the very least) a basic outline. This will create a simple road map that can help keep the story on track. Also consider creating a writing routine to maintain your focus on your new project.
Most writers are all too familiar with the phenomenon of getting a brand new idea right when they hit a difficult point in the writing or editing process. If you are currently in the middle of writing, editing or otherwise working on a book, make sure that this new idea is not an excuse to abandon something because it got hard.
This does not mean you have to abandon your new idea though. Instead, create a dedicated space to keep track of all your story ideas and inspiration so that you can easily draw on them when it is time to start a new project. Some writers prefer physical journals for this task, while others keep their ideas in documents on their computers.
Not all ideas are good ideas. A fleeting idea that seemed like gold can quickly turn to coal when examined further. If a story idea doesn’t seem to be holding up to your expectations, don’t be afraid to let it go! Holding on to something that isn’t working will only prevent you from moving on to projects that are worth your time and effort.
You are the only one who can decide what to do with your story idea. This does not mean that you have to immediately figure things out. When in doubt, shelving an idea until you have more time to dedicate to the concept may be the best approach.