Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Six Tips to Tame the Story Idea Flood

September 18, 2019

Idea Source

Many of us experience, from time to time, the dreaded writers block, that awful feeling while staring at a blank page or screen when words do not flow but what happens when there are too many story ideas bombarding our brains? It can be just as debilitating as staring at that blankness. Bizarrely the symptoms are quite similar – crippling  indecision, procrastination, and even insomnia and anxiety.

As writers we usually have numerous story ideas bouncing around inside our heads usually gleaned from something we see or hear. This may seem like a good problem to have, however, the dilemma is how do we ensure these golden nuggets are not lost or are even worth investigating?  We can make frantic notes, some which, unfortunately make no sense whatsoever later on! That middle of the night scribble is so common. But timing is everything – musing over where a new idea could possibly lead, can lead to a devastating interruption to a current project. So how do we identify if this ‘new’ idea is worth pursuing without jeopardizing our current writing?

There are strategies we can employ to enable us to identify the ideas that are worth keeping – here are a few.

a) Leave the chaos of your writing space with pen and paper or recording device and go for a walk. Once you are in a new environment the most exciting and prominent idea(s) will stay with you. Write or record them and let your imagination flourish with them for a while.

b) Restrict your time on musing about new ideas by setting yourself a time limit. Even a ten minute burst of inspirational writing will ensure you get the idea down but not ‘waste’ too much time on it. Once it is written put it to one side and continue with your current project, safe in the knowledge the idea has been dealt with.

c) Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then mark it down as your next project. However, if the idea is vague, do not pursue it – just jot down the outline and file it for another time.

d) Utilize your passion when defining whether an idea is worth reflection. If it excites you or is on a subject you feel passionate about then it should be considered in depth.

e) Get yourself an idea board. Organize each idea into genre or categories and when a new plot, character or scene comes to you place it with the other components of that particular story or idea thread.

f) Bounce your ideas off a few trusted friends or members of your writing group.


Not all ideas will make it and that’s okay. Use your internal writer instinct to guide you on which idea excites your specific Muse, the one that takes hold of your imagination and let the words flow. Story is our power and knowing which ones we are best at telling is key.

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  1. Great advice. I hadn’t thought about a setting a time limit before. This could be interesting. I definitely fatigue brain matter by trying to flesh ideas out. Thanks, Mandy! sorry for commenting so late. Too days of travel in a row. I’m pooped! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oof! I needed this right now. I just got an idea for a new novel that I got taken with, so I waffled for a bit. In the end, I decided to take on the new idea and focus on world-building the earlier project at the same time instead of writing both, but this is a very topical piece to read for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These are really great tips! I agree, we have a lot of ideas bouncing in our heads. It’s a matter of deciding which ones to work on, without interrupting the one we are currently working on.

    It can be very tempting to drop a current project when we get a new idea, specially when the current project hit a creative slump!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t hate me for saying so, but please incorporate more white space. Although your information was defintely worth reading, the eyestrain was not. Thanks for the post.

    Anna from elements of emaginette


  5. Some really great tips here! One thing I do is keep an electronic notebook open for all those random ideas that pop into my head. I can access it quickly while sitting at my computer as I’m working on my novel. I just open up the page, jot down the ideas, then get back to writing my novel. Great post, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. These are some really good tips! I find that the one that works best for me is (b) restricting my time to come up with ideas. I jot it down, write a few paragraphs to get the juices flowing and then decide if I’m passionate enough to keep working on it or return to the project I had been working on before. The key is to get the idea on paper as quickly as possible otherwise it’s gonna be gone tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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