The Stifling Avalanche That Are Too Many Ideas

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You might have noticed that I have not posted much on this blog since last April. I have been asked why in so many emails, Facebook messages and in person that I had to face it head on and really think about it: why I have not been blogging lately?

The first and foremost assumption everyone makes is that I have run out of ideas or things to say. Quite the contrary. You see, something odd has happened in the last couple of months. I never lacked ideas before; I always had something to talk about, a question I was researching, an interesting set of articles that would trigger reflections. I also have the fantastic gift of amazing friends who are always titillating my brain with the most amazing conversations, also feeding into the Sahar’s Musings Factory. So much so, in fact, that for every post you see on this blog, there are at least another dozen lingering on my hard drive in a folder named, quite simple, “Ideas”.

You would think that having this particular problem of having too many ideas would be, in the case of a blogger such as myself, a great thing. But here is the thing: I have so many ideas that I have felt, in the last couple of months, stuck under an avalanche stifling my creativity. Isn’t that supremely ironic?

Once I identified the problem, I was able to start talking about it with my awesome network of artistically inclined people, including, of course, writers. And it came somewhat as a shock to discover that everyone is or has suffered from this problem. One of my friends has a stack of about 100 ideas of paintings she wants to work on; another has, like me, a binder full of writing ideas; another has a couple of notebooks filled with sketches of jewelry she wants to make.

After many hours of consultation, it seems that my friends and I are suffering the consequences of the omnipresent overstimulation that surrounds us, from books, to television, to endless amounts of quality reading to the even more endless amounts of less than stellar quality reading available on the Internet. For us at least, it seems that one idea becomes ten within the span of the time it takes to start researching about the first idea. While initially, it creates a giddy flurry of ideas spanning pages and pages, it seems to become somewhat of a burden: how in the world, with all of our other responsibilities, are we even going to broach this now seemingly insurmountable pile of ideas and projects we want to embark on?

It is, quite simple, impossible, and something many other writers seem to suffer from. In fact, in the course of researching about this situation my friends and I are in, I discovered an interesting concept: the Too Many Ideas Syndrome (TMIS):

TMIS may not seem much of a problem, especially in an occupation that requires new ideas popping up regularly in order to drive creativity. But having too many ideas and no focus can be just as debilitating to a writer as staring at nothingness, especially if the syndrome causes indecision, procrastination, failure to meet deadlines, insomnia and anxiety. You don’t hear much about TMIS because complaining about being too creative is like complaining about being on The New York Times bestseller list too often. (Source: Writer’s Digest)

So of course the question now is, how do I get over this? I found a fantastic post by Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, written in March 2008 (where have you been all this time?) and quoted above, that gives nine ways to overcome TMIS. I have identified the three that I know will help me best. If you also have TMIS, perhaps you should take a look at this list and choose the ones that suit you best. And when you do manage to control your too many ideas, do drop me a line!

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3 thoughts on “The Stifling Avalanche That Are Too Many Ideas

  1. I have a folder full of other folders, each to keep ideas for other writing projects. Sometimes I wirte down (quickly) the overall concept of the idea, just to let it out. Ideas crave the world of being; you have to let them come out. They will develop in their due time. So, I do that, but I don’t let myself spend too long on them.

    The goal is to dedicate time to the current project until it is done. Thinking about other things meanwhile is natural, and even good. You just need to control (somehow) the flow.

    Towards the end of a project, it’s nice to look at your pool and let the flow of a more mature (however unripe it still is) and open the faucet a bit more. So that, when your current project is done, you can start the next right away! =)

    Now, I should get back to work! =)

    1. I like the way you are canalizing your creativity without stifling it! My challenge is to let go of the idea when I have written it down for future reference… I shall continue working on this whole discipline thing 😉

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