What To Do When You Have Too Many Ideas: Make a List
It might not happen all the time. Hell, it might be a rare thing, but when it happens, it can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. What is “it?” That moment when you realize you have too many ideas. You want to write All The Things, and you can because you have All The Ideas!
Of course, the reality is that you might have All The Ideas, but you don’t have All The Time. So what are you supposed to do with those extra ideas? Try this…
Make a List
Sounds like a big ole duh, I know, but hear me out. Make a list that you will actually access and use. I like Trello because I can use it on my phone and computer. Wherever I am, I can look at my list and pick a possible topic to write about. My ideas come to me at random times, so I also want to be able to jot them down when they do. Other alternatives might be Evernote, the notes app on your phone, a Google Doc, or some other easily accessible list or note taking option. Of course, you might prefer analog options – pen and paper is never a bad idea.
Note: I’ve used both Trello and Evernote and prefer Trello for it’s layout. My brain appreciates the organization of boards, lists, and cards. Evernote is great too but didn’t give me the same warm and fuzzy feeling.
Organize Your List
I’m an organizational geek who can happily spend hours in an office supply store so telling me it’s time to organize something is like telling me I get to eat chocolate. Yes, please! Not all of your ideas are good for every website, blog, or magazine. Take some time to organize your list so that you know if it’s a good one to pitch to a few sex blogs, write on your own blog, or turn into a short story or essay for an offline publication.
Seeing all your ideas in list form will either overwhelm you (I hope not!) or spur you on to pitch everyone. Stop! Don’t do that. Take your best one or two ideas that you think will be perfect for a specific publication. Write out a great pitch for each idea. Send them off into the world. If you get rejected or don’t hear back after a follow-up, pitch the idea to the next great website or publication. Tweak the pitch so it fits where you’re sending it. You don’t want to overwhelm an editor with too many pitches, and you don’t want the same pitch to be accepted by two places at the same time.
Use Your Ideas for Your Blog
If you’ve got a list of content ideas, some of those need to go on your own blog. Writing for other publications to make money and build a career makes sense if that’s your goal. But you also need good content for your own blog. You’re building an audience in your sandbox, remember? To do that, you need high quality content that draws people in and makes them want to come back for more. Your idea list should definitely be a resource for your blog content.
Keep Updating Your List
Having a single place for all your ideas to live makes it easy to add more. Whatever method you create for yourself – digital or pen and paper – can easily become a habit. Train yourself to get the idea down as soon as you have it. Every so often, go back through your previous ideas. Some won’t seem all that brilliant, but others may spark new ideas based on what you’ve written about or learned since you add it to your list.
Creating content can be fulfilling, rewarding, and liberating. It can also be overwhelming, exhausting, and frustrating. Organizing all those random thoughts and ideas into a list you use over and over again helps turn down the noise in your head and allows you to focus.
Have you created a list of all your writing ideas? What method and process do you use that you love? How has it helped you as a writer? Share your thoughts in the comments below!