author, creative writing, writing

Ways to Remain Loyal to your Novel, When Inspiration Strikes

Writers find ideas everywhere. They pop up seemingly out of nowhere, and you can often find yourself brimming with inspiration. When this happens, it can be hard to focus on your work in progress. It’s so easy to become gripped by the excitement of a new idea. As such, I’d like to share someways to remain loyal to your WIP, when inspiration strikes.

Write down new ideas in a separateย notebook
I am in support of ignoring the shiny new idea, until your current project is complete. But that doesn’t mean you should shut it down completely. Jot down every idea, and store it away for another day. Writers write, after all, and you’ll want those ideas for projects in the future. Keep them in a separate notebook, so you’re not tempted by then, but keep them all there. The act of writing them down will stop your mind from resurfacing the idea as it grapples to remember it. And you may even use some of your notes to enhance your work in progress instead of a new story.
novel writing

Turn your new idea into a short story
If you really, truly cannot rest until you’ve told your story, consider making it a short one. Set yourself a strict word count, and use it as a writing exercise. Writing short stories can teach you a lot about writing novels. It’s also a great way to keep yourself writing if you’re blocked or in a writing slump. And above all, it ensures you don’t spend too much time on it, allowing you to get back to your novel as soon as possible.
novel writing (1)

Use the new idea as a treat, to motivate yourself
This has worked for me in the past. Set yourself mini-tasks. “If I write 2,000 words today, I can work on my new idea.” Or “if I finish this draft my next month, I can do some work on myย  new idea.” You’re essentially turning that new idea into a treat/reward to motivate you do meet your own deadlines.
novel writing (2)

Work on both at the same time
Personally, this isn’t one for me, but it works for others. There are pros and cons to working on two ideas at once, and if you can do it, great! Why not? All writing is writing, and if it keeps you in the habit then that’s perfect. There’s no rule on this. It’s all about personal preference.
novel writing (3)

How do you cope when new, exciting ideas strike? How do you remain loyal to your main project? Drop your answer below, as I could definitely do with the insight!

Until then,
Keep writing,

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33 thoughts on “Ways to Remain Loyal to your Novel, When Inspiration Strikes”

  1. I am lucky enough to have all ideas (so far, at least) related to my only project. Even then, ideas for backstory and potential prequels/sequels happen. I just write them down somewhere and wait for the time to explore them.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on BJ Sikes, author and commented:
    When the plot bunnies are bounding around in your head and you need to actually FINISH that novel first, try theae techniques. I particularly like the idea of writing a short story based on the shiny new idea. It takes less time away fromm my big project but I capture the feel of the new idea.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello!! I can definitely relate to the post! I often come across shiny, new ideas (usually about halfway or 75% through my current novel) which distracts me from my WIP! It definitely helps to write down the idea, and I often use it as a reward to motivate me to finish my current novel (such as, “I can plan this new novel once I finish writing this one.”) I have never worked on two WIPs at once (I’m terrible at multi-tasking hahahah ๐Ÿ˜› ) Great post!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Fantastic advice, M! I’ve certainly found that branching out into short stories & stretching my comfort zone with new genres has definitely improved my overall writing confidence. Lovely tips! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I usually just note stuff down and continue with the project Iโ€™m on. My writer brain doesnโ€™t like to work on more than one story at a time. I do love your tips though, and the idea of rewarding yourself with working on something you want after meeting a certain target/word count. I might use that to juggle my WIP and blogs. Thanks, Meelie ๐Ÿ˜Š.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m the same, I can’t focus on two at once! With uni this year I had to write short stories, and I found it a great way to use those ideas I was excited about. โค Thanks for commenting xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Take your separate notebook idea, multiply it by about 25, and you’ve got my computer files. I think of ideas continually, sometimes whole scenes of projects still waiting for my attention. I write them. Put them in the appropriate folder, and when I get to that project, I’ve got a wealth of information to work with. Sometimes a complete beginning and ending that just need the middle bit filled in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I also use the short story idea. I’ve been contributing to a lot of anthologies recently as a result. One of them backfired though and became a prequel to a new series.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It can. Having to many stories demanding my attention at once forced me to develop a system to keep focused. I’m currently catching up a load of short stories for anthologies while pushing myself to finish a book for an August release, yikes!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. In some cases I jot down the idea, in others I’ll write a concrete scene, but I always limit myself to a few minutes (no more than 10) and then I save it somewhere, put the working title on the writing to do list, and go back to the project at hand.
    In many cases I find it helpful to step away and return, gives me fresh perspective, though I do feel a small amount of time is warranted to get down enough of the concept to “slip back into the flow” when I do return to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yes, I have this problem often. I’m working on a novel, but I find flash fiction much easier/faster and it detracts me from my novel. When I was writing my other two published novels, when I wrote flash fiction I used the characters in my novel, so I stayed on point, learned more about my characters, and could even use some of the flash fiction pieces in my novel. I haven’t been able to do that with this 3rd book much. So, I’m going to publish a book of my flash fiction, THEN release myself and go back to my novel. ;-0

    Liked by 1 person

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