How I Deal With Too Many Ideas

As a writer and a creative, I have way too many ideas and too little time (as I tell myself). Therefore, I have to find ways to deal with them.

Photo by Ekrulila from Pexels

Write everything down. Including every version of the idea as it evolves, because it will.

I carry around a pocket-sized notebook when I can, but sometimes I get lazy. The Notes app on my iPhone is filled with notes. Random musings, last night’s dream in a few words, story prompts that read like haikus.

Select a few and entertain them in my head.

I look through my notes and organize my ideas. The Notes app also contains to-dos and grocery lists, which get deleted after they expire.
Review the ideas are just as important as coming up with them, and I would add new insights as I go.
If an idea was hastily jotted down, it would make little sense a few years later. However, if you review it in a few days, it would still be mostly fresh on your mind, and you can add more details to it to make it clear. Think of it as a convenience for later.

Focus on the main work-in-progress.

New ideas are always shiny and full of potential. My current WIP would look dull and used in the comparison. Feel free to run with the latest idea, but if I do, I never end up finishing anything.
To me, the key is to focus on my current work and get it finished. Even though it’s not perfect, at least it is completed. A completed content is out of my head and onto paper, but an idea, no matter how full of potential it is, is in my head.

Combine ideas into one.

You can combine similar ones and save space in your document. Ideas for the same project should be grouped together, tagged, or put into a “WIP idea” document.
Another thing I often do was combine interesting but different concepts together to create an idea for a larger project, such as a novel. It would have depth and multitude. It would be weaved with subplots, character developments, and also challenge the tropes.

Decide what idea is for what.

When I get ideas for new stories, I go on to decide which is a short story and which is a novel. Short stories make it really easy if you just want to get the story down in a few thousand words, and it’s a complete project.
Novels could take months even years to write, and I don’t have time to write a few hundred novels.

Flesh out the idea, but still keep it contained.

If I don’t have time but still want to expand on an idea, I write micro pieces. They are usually a scene, a few lines of dialogs, a description of an environment.
The point is to get the idea out and make them into usable snippets, which is what I name the document that contains these, “Usable Snippets”.
Sit on them. Come back to them a month later, or a year. Sometimes I fill in or edit the prose, because my prose had improved with time.
Sometimes the snippet has stood up with the test of time, and I can just copy and paste it into the correct spot of my WIP.

Starve your brain if you don’t want to get more ideas, just for a while.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. If you really want to, you can stop yourself from getting more ideas. When reading, don’t be distracted by great concepts. Focus on the prose and languages. You can improve your writing skills without getting more ideas.
When listening to music, listen to it. Don’t analyze the lyrics and dream of the stories they hold. Listen to the rhythm, the beats.
When out for a walk, look at the colors of the trees, the shape of the hills. Live in the moment. Not in your head and in an imaginary world.

Document dreams and therefore have more ideas.

My dreams are usually really interesting. I dream every night, sometimes 3–4 dreams per night. I only write down the best or better ones, and of course, I had to remember them first. Oftentimes they just vanish from the first second I woke up.

Go out and find more ideas.

Ideas are cheap. Investing in even one takes energy. The execution is key.
I read through my idea document regularly, and add to it regularly. I separate the good ones from the others, but never delete anything. Anything.

Do regular braindumps.

Get things out of your head and onto paper. Clear your head. Disk capacity is cheap, brain space is not. And who knows, what if something were to happen to you and you suffer from memory loss or worse, but you’d still have your ideas recorded and ready to be executed.
But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Worldbuilding: Ravenmont

Ravenmont, a fictional U.S. state

ravenmont state flag

Basics

Location: West coast, Pacific Midwest

Abbreviation: RM

Capital: Tapacali

Population: 24 million

Largest city: Duskim (technology center)

Second largest city: Ridgewood (college town)

Third largest city: Freetown (entertainment industry)

 

History

In the 1840s, a merchant ship carried cholera disease into a trading town in the Pacific Midwest. The plague led to the quarantine of several frontier settlements. People from inside and outside the quarantine began calling it Ravenmont, due to the large population of the bird in the area, as well as the mountain ridge that ran diagonally through the region. After the plague died down, the area was reopened and granted statehood in 1852.

 

Present

Ravenmont is the fastest developing state in the country, gaining the title of “the ever-changing state”. It thrives on tourism and innovative technology, owning three national parks, countless museums, and historical sites. The Ravenmont Museum of Uncommon History is a leading facility in the curation and studies of uncommon related subjects. The University of Ravenmont in Ridgewood (URR), and Duskim University are among the top colleges of the nation.

The state symbol is, of course, raven. The blackbird is seen on the flag, the car license plate, and in the sky. The bird-beaked Plague Doctor is also a famous mascot.

In Ravenmont you would see common humans and uncommon humans living in harmony.

 

 

Why this website exists​

I had been entertaining the idea of starting an author website for years now. I started a few and practiced my web design skills by exploring WordPress and such. It was fun, but it was expensive. The hosting and the domains all costed money, and I had no reliable income at the time. I can’t keep a website and have nothing up.

Still, I recognize the need to have a website. I knew I would be published one day and I need to have a place to direct the readers to. Social media would work, but a website would be more formal and can contain things more than the size of a bite.

I can have things related to my books here. Deleted scene, worldbuilding, lore, sketches, art, maps, or my writing process. I write what I want to read, and I believe there are people out there who would be interested in seeing these.

Then I got into short stories. I think it had to do with the fact that there were so many ideas in my head and I couldn’t possibly write them all as novels, and also because not everything was that complicated. I wrote some snippets when I got a burst of inspiration. They were few-hundred-word pieces, going nowhere. I had the impression that a short story has to be 4000 words and literary-magazine-worthy, but I forgot how to write for myself.

Right now most of the posts on this site are around 1500 words. They are short, weird, but they are fun to write. I experienced a period of depression in the Fall of 2018, and I couldn’t work on any of my books, so I began to write short pieces and put them up on the blog. It really helped, even though some days I didn’t touch the keyboard at all.

I’m trying to keep this site alive. My debut novel is coming out soon, and I want to have things here. Not just life updates (my life isn’t that interesting), cat photos (I don’t own a cat, or any pets at the moment), coffee latte art ( I don’t go to cafés nearly enough), but also an extension of the world I’m creating. I hope it would be a good and casual place to hang out on this vast internet of ours.

Okay.

Airy Head

A teenage mindreader attempted to decode a new classmate, and received something unexpected.

I sat behind her, so it was easy to infiltrate her mind. It must’ve been what NASA felt like when they sent out probes to outer space, searching for answers, searching for life, searching for something to prove we weren’t alone. I felt the same way every time I tried on someone new. Except unlike NASA, what I did was an invasion, and I wanted no proof. And I was always alone.

I was an army in the body of one person. One person with a gift, personalized for this quiet chaos.

The new girl captured my interest about the same time she captured everyone else’s. The school was small and a “tight-knit community” according to the principle. We rarely got a transfer student, and when we did, it had a ripple effect.

People were talking and rumors were spreading. Waves of curiosity lapped at the edge of my mind. The things they said and the things they thought didn’t match up.

It was understandable.

Her name was Chloe something—her last name didn’t matter. What mattered was: it was taking a while to read her mind.

It should’ve been easier. The class was boring, so there were fewer distractions. Mrs. Kimberly was droning about algebra. There’s not much going on in the old woman’s mind. She thought about her next line and the textbook material in general, and an underlying distaste for the younger generation. She could almost recite the lecture. After all, it was same thing she had taught for the last twelve years.

I was familiar with her mind after an entire semester and a half. Enough so I could listen in and pay 2.7% of my attention, and still get average grades. Better or worse academic performance would make me stand out. There’s nothing that kills a special person faster than standing out.

The students around me were different thinkers. The whispers spoke in the same language as the winds. Some were louder, less afraid to be heard. Others would decide even their favorite color was a secret. Still, I could hear them all. Last night’s football game, the boys they liked, the questionable contents on their computer hard drive. They each had a thought of their own, at least they believed so. Buzzing like bees, buzzing like a hive mind.

It got tiring after a while. I let the background noises fade away, only focusing on her. Her mind had organized defenses, walls around her thoughts. Smart people had those.

I took my metaphorical hammer and attacked them. It happened in another reality. Here, I was sitting behind my desk, playing with my pen in one hand, twirling it between fingers, the other hand propping my head as it got heavier and heavier, eyes downcasted, staring at the notebook paper. The pen spun 360 degrees. I caught it between middle finger and index, clicked at it with the tip of my thought.

The cheerleader next to me gave me a nasty glare.

The walls were down. I suppressed a smirk and strode inside, stepping over the rubble and ruin. There was a galaxy inside everyone. Chloe’s was purple and teal like an aurora. The recent memories were bright and alive, while her childhood was muted and blurry. I brushed through the stars, browsing through like they were photographs.

I investigated each of them. Which one to read first?

The mindscape trembled.

Chloe stopped jotting down notes, her hand frozen in the middle of writing. Her back went rigid.

Then it was too late. Everything shut down. Black. Total darkness. I stood in limbo with infinite space around me, completely alone.

It was bad. I turned tail and ran, pulling away from the darkness. It chased me like a ferocious beast, threatening to swallow me whole.
This darkness was different. A cloud of smoke with a thousand stars as eyes. A large cat, then a wolf. A shapeshifter, the worst kind. It growled, jaws opened wide like a snake’s.

It spoke. “Whoever you are, get out.” The combination of a thousand voices. Men, women, elders, and children.

I stumbled and retreated. My chair cringed as I leaned back, a little too quickly. My chair stood ontwo feet for a brief second. I almost toppled over, creating a loud squeak in the quiet classroom. People turned their heads.

I masked my sudden movement with a stretch, then leaned forward, hovering over my notebook again.

Carefully lifting my eyes, I saw Chloe scanning the classroom with casual calculation. She brushed a tress of dark hair behind her ear. Turning back, she asked a boy for a sheet of paper. He opened his three-ring binder and took one out, flattered by the attention. He clamped the closure shut a bit too loudly.

She glanced across the room while she waited. I smoothed out the notebook papers and began to write. Actual, perfect notes on math.

Her exchange was taking too long. Mrs. Kimberly would notice her not paying attention in class. But it was all forgiven. She was the new student.

I much preferred a library. It was like entering a frozen yogurt shop with a paper cup for unlimited sampling. Delicious thoughts everywhere, and no need to pay.

The community library was close to my high school. Many students walked there after school to study. The elementary school students waited for their parents to pick them up. There were adults typing away on their laptops after work. A nice variety of humans.

All thoughts were flying in the air like birds, neatly and informational, coming and going from home. They danced. I would spend hours on end with my head buried in my arms, breathing the smell of laundry soap and soft fabric. Fake sleeping, and actually watching the beautiful multiverse.

The scrawny guy a few chairs down had his nose in a history book. I listened for a way into his mind, then decided not to bother. I had locked down on the best student in my class, thus I was all set with my exams. Their minds held all the correct answers.

Chloe entered through the automatic door. I didn’t stir. I had known without looking. The popular kids had invited her to hang out after school, already welcoming her to their clique. Chloe wasn’t bad looking and she had an aura of elegance, something this town lacked. They would hate for her to disappear into the background. She politely declined them with “I’m going to the library”.

Very well, then. I planned another attack on my home turf. Her defense would still be weak, but the darkness within her mind was a different beast. I had never encountered such a thing before…and I was ignoring the real problem.

How did she know I was in her mind?

That had spooked me. Most people had minds so dull they couldn’t feel it even when the walls came crumbling down.

Chloe was a wild card, uncharted territory. That made her interesting. I would have to be more careful. Put away the hammer and to take up the surgery knife, cut away the strayed and idle thoughts, go straight for what made her who she was.

I skirted the field, looking for answers. Who was she? Why was she here?

There was a tingling in my own mind. Something was wrong.

Something hadn’t been right since the start. I ceased the effort and stilled.

Slowly I sat up and went to a bookshelf, the closest one. I stared at the rows upon rows of books, holding my breath and letting it go. Blood trickled down my nose. I touched it—crimson red. Then it was seeping into my lips. I tasted the coppery liquid and wiped it away. I cleaned my hand on my blue jeans, trying not to stare at the red.

I hated blood. The sight of it made me want to throw up, but it was part of the consequences. It’s not the blood I hate, it’s the reason for blood.

“Indeed.”

The voice made me jump. I spun around so quick I almost twisted my neck. No one was talking to me. The voice was in my head. A chill went down my spine. The paralyzing fear gripped me. I had left my headspace wide open.

I ran from the library as fast as I could, putting distance between me and the other mind reader. A thousand thoughts flashed through my head. Places I’ve never been, people I’ve never met, thoughts I’ve never had. I began to recognize some of them. I don’t know which were mine.

I ran back home and stayed there. I excused myself from school the next day and the day after, faking sick. I was sick, sick of myself and the things in my head. I compartmentalized, filed them away.

Mine, not mine.

On the fourth day, I got out of bed. Still dizzy but at least I could walk. I went to the library.

There it was, a sign. Printed in bold on a white paper.

It read: “No Mind Reader Allowed in the Library”.

I stood there, my mind blank.

I broke out laughing, because the symbol was a red diagonal line over a stick figure’s brain.

The library prohibited brains.

I projected that image into everyone’s head, reminding them of the sign they saw on their way in. The silent library burst out laughing. Some were giggling behind their books, others snickered into their hands.

Chloe looked at me with her lips pressed together. She was not amused at all.