I had the loot spread out all over my floor. Sorting through my Halloween candy, I could not wait to dig in. Sure, my Mom said to only eat a piece a day. Save it for later, she said. But there it was….the whole candy haul, spread out like a sugary smorgasbord. Ahhhhh….sweet (literally sweet) bliss!
I was in candy heaven until later when my stomach started gurgling. You see, I had eaten my candy with so much gusto that I didn’t slow down. Once the churning started, it was too late. I was sick as a dog. My desire for candy waned dramatically for a few weeks after that. The sight of a Reese’s peanut butter cup, which would normally have me salivating like a slobbering spaniel, had me feeling green and gagging.
Candy crunched! This is what I named this feeling I had as a kid the day after Halloween. The very things that I used to love had me feeling ill and overwhelmed. Just like the game Candy Crush, or way too much Halloween candy, too much of a good thing all at once is not a good thing anymore. Often we think we want more, more, more, when really we should be focusing on quality, not quantity.
How do we avoid feeling Candy Crunched? As a writer, I often experience this when I have so many ideas that I have NO IDEA where to start writing. Just as having writers’ block is a bad feeling, so too is having so many ideas that you can’t even imagine where to begin.
Do you have too many ideas swirling in your head like Willy Wonka’s chocolate river? Here are some tips to get your “candy” - i.e. ideas - into manageable, bite-sized pieces:
Brain dump - Just like kids will take their Halloween goodies and spread them on the floor, you too can take all of your ideas out of your head. How? Brain dump! Write out all of your ideas. Keep writing until you cannot think of any more ideas. Don’t worry - if a new idea comes to you, you can add it to the dump pile. Writing out all of your ideas does a couple of things. First, it can help you start to think. With all of those ideas out of your head and written down, you can give your brain a break with its mental load of corraling those ideas. Second, you can see all of your ideas at one, and begin to prioritize.
Brain Storm - Once you have all of your ideas dumped out in writing, now you can choose your favorites. This is similar to separating out all of the “good” candy from the “bad” candy from your Halloween trick or treat bag. The ideas that appeal to you the most are the “good” ideas - these are the keepers. But you don’t have to toss out your other ideas. Save your brain dump writing so you can look back at your other ideas later if you want.
Start writing - Once you have chosen the idea that is most appealing to you right now, start “unwrapping” your candy…err, idea. Put your brain to work thinking and focusing on that one idea. Now you can start writing other related ideas down.
This process works nicely because you can jot down all of your ideas to return to them later. But you have also selected one idea to use and focus on. With only one idea as its focus, your brain will stop swirling and instead can start creating your story.
Next time you are writing and feel “Candy Crunched,” think about re-creating these steps!
If you would like additional awesome writing tips and tricks, give yourself a treat! Sign up for my October writing workshop, “EEK! Fear of a Blank Page” using this website: https://www.kwepub.com/writingseries/letsplay2
You’ll come away from the training with:
Ways to overcome writers’ block
More ideas for selecting a great topic
The start of your next writing - including a title, format, and the start of an outline
Awesome interactive discussion with other authors
Answers to your writing questions
It’s wonderful to have lots of ideas! But it is even better to have clarity to choose your best ideas, and to have focus to start writing. Happy Writing!!