Creative Distractions

I consider myself a creative person.

I also consider myself a disciplined writer.

Trouble is, they don’t necessarily work together. When a creative idea comes to me, it often has no logical connection to anything that I am trying to accomplish at the moment. Which can be problematic, of course.

Case in point: I am currently working (using that term loosely) on my latest book, a historical novel set in the 1920s and 1930s. It’s a tough road, because there’s a lot of research involved at every step. In the middle of “writing” this book, I suddenly am getting ideas for other books. In this case, I’m visualizing sequels to books I’ve written in the past.

This is nothing new to me. Usually, just about the time I get ready to launch a book, I suddenly get inspired to go in another direction..or more than one. Is that simply because it’s easier to dream up ideas than it is to sit down and write them out? I suspect so.

This is where discipline takes over. I don’t want to ignore inspiration. If I have an idea, I don’t want to just forget it. Instead, I take the time to sit down and write down the idea. I have a file where I keep my story ideas organized. If I am daydreaming about a particular story more than once, I date the ideas. That way I can see the development of the ideas as time goes on.

What I find fascinating is that when I do this, when I write the distracting idea down, it disappears from my mind. I no longer am distracted. I give my mind permission to forget it. I’ve got a record of the idea, and I can get back to work. I’ve made a promise to myself that the idea has potential and there’s the possibility that it will someday become a story.

And then I go back to work on my original story. With the emphasis on the word “work.”