Unruly Thoughts

There is a problem I seem to have – while I often know exactly what I want to write about, there are also times when I sit and stare at my computer screen for full minutes at a time, and I ponder. The thoughts run through my head, half finished sentences chasing each other around and around. I abandon one idea and move onto the next, I ditch that one and jump to yet another one. It can be a wonderful feeling, and can sometimes lead to something that I catch hold of and mull over, and that something can eventually blossom into a whole piece.

Then again, there are those evenings where the thoughts never cease to chase each other around, like wild children in a game – each is intent upon making itself heard. But then, as children will do, the ideas abandon their convincing and pleading because something more interesting is going on, or because they’re bored, or perhaps even curious of what the next idea is going to be.

How do writers, real writers that is, deal with this? Once you have a beginning of a story, how do you decide what to do with it? How can a writer, even one with a clear picture of how everything will play out, not be tempted by the dozen odd ideas that can pop into their heads at any moment? I suppose there is some way to focus yourself, but then, perhaps writing at one o’clock in the morning isn’t the time to discover it.

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8 thoughts on “Unruly Thoughts

  1. When that happens to me, I:
    1. Wait for an hour for them to “condense” like water vapour to water drops
    2. Go take a shower. My thoughts clear themselves this way
    3. Decide what I love to write the most – the context and the theme

  2. journeybooks says:

    Isn’t what happens in stories bound within limits by the characters and the setting?
    Sometimes scenes can go different ways, but my characters will only choose to act in so many ways, limiting the options. Creating the plot by their choices in dealing with the conflict.
    Jennifer

  3. I find that when I have half thought out ideas, posts, comments or even sentence’s. In any context the best way to stop them chasing around inside your head is to get them out. Find a big bit of paper or a space on your screen and start writing. Grab sections for ideas and comment’s and once it’s all on paper then you can let the ideas take shape, expand and change them as you do. But then I’m not what would be considered a real writer, I type what is in my mind at the time – I disect my thoughts, believes and ideas into something managable to understand and grow.

    I really like your writing but it sometimes feel’s like your trying to hard – not an insult but it’s difficult to get a natural flow of words

  4. pochp says:

    I may not be a ‘real’ writer but my best way of arresting an idea is by simply jotting it down at once– ideas can really fly fast.

  5. My problem is that I tend to think about all the things I want to write when I am not in front of my computer… and then when I sit here first thing in the morning… its just all gone. I guess that’s what my little notebook in my handbag is for… grin.

  6. I agree with Alex. Either get them down on paper or else let them chase around in your head until they settle down and you can put them in order. You are a fantabulious writer and I can’t wait to come here each day.

  7. Thank you for the tips, everyone! I do try to write down my ideas as soon as I have them, though I should be more diligent about it!

    @Alex – I think I know what you mean… But could you tell me what posts you think are like that? This blog really is for practice and criticism and I want to know that I understand what you meant by “trying too hard.”

    @Joy – Thank you so much for the kind words, I really get tears in my eyes when you compliment me like this…

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