Do you have ideas coming out of your ears? So many great stories to tell that you can’t decide which one to focus on first? In some ways this is a great position to be in, but when it comes to getting projects finished, it can be a bit of a curse. If you’re the sort of writer who starts ten things and never ends up finishing any of them, here are some ways to decide which project to focus on.
1 Pitch your projects to a friend. Make a list of all the projects you’re working on, and prepare a minute-long pitch for each one. Get a friend (or a panel of friends), bribe them with snacks, and spend an afternoon pitching your ideas to them. Encourage them to ask questions and make comments. See which projects excite them the most, and see which ones excite YOU the most as you pitch them.
2 Let fate decide. Assign numbers to all of your projects, and then use a random number generator (like https://www.random.org/) to choose one of the numbers for you. If you find yourself disappointed by the result, maybe that project’s not for right now. Take it out of the running and try again.
3 List your projects in order of how close to completion they are. Make a list or spreadsheet of all your projects, and organise them by how easily you could finish them. Any short stories that just need a final polish? They go at the top. Epic fantasy saga that you only have a rough concept for? That goes at the bottom. Mark a dedicated writing day on your calendar and see if you can power through a couple of the things at the top of the list to make the number of projects less overwhelming.
4 Make a bracket. If you have so many ideas that you can’t even begin to decide, try making a bracket with this bracket generator: http://challonge.com/tournament/bracket_generator?edit=1&ref=10PHFWCY3h. Pit your story ideas against each other in head-to-head combat, until only one victor remains. You can either decide who wins on your gut feeling, get your friends to help you choose, or assign your stories scores on factors like ease of writing/amount of research needed before you can start/length/etc.
5 Choose a one-sentence-a-day project. If you really can’t choose between your ideas, don’t. Just choose one to be the project you write at least one sentence for each day. (A sticker chart or habit-tracking app might help if you like to keep a record of your progress.) Once you’ve written one sentence for this project (and some days you’ll find that the words flow and you write more almost without noticing), you can write anything else you like, but this way you’ll make slow but steady progress while still feeling free to work on whatever grabs you each day. (This is better for shorter projects, but you could make it work for a novel too!)
How do you choose your writing projects? Hop into the comments and let us know!