I have a problem.
You've heard of author's suffering from "writer's block", but, honestly, I don't think I've ever experienced such a thing. In fact, I experience the complete opposite, which I'll call "Writer's Flood", because that's what it feels like to me.
Imagine: You're writing this perfectly good story, you're heavily involved in the characters, and are pleased at how their development and interaction affect the overall story and even start taking it into directions you hadn't anticipated or planned. This is the fun part of writing, and you are thoroughly enjoying the strange alchemic result of your creativity.
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, you get this idea. It's an idea that has absolutely nothing to do with what you're working on. But it's a great idea, a compelling idea, and seductively, beautifully alluring idea that now you can't concentrate on what you were working on. Every time you try to build on your story, this new idea insists on being heard and developed, tantalizing you with all of its possibilities.
You try to do other things to get your mind off of this tangent, this distracting notion that has just entered your mind…maybe browse the internet or go watch TV or go see what the kids are up to. But as you as you do these things, in the back of your mind, your subconscious has just thrown this new idea into the pot and is definitely brewing something. Now the idea is no longer just an idea, but a possible story, one with characters and situations that are both intriguing and compelling. Like an itch you want to scratch but can't, you pull yourself away from what you are doing and then head back to the computer and start typing.
As you type, you say to yourself "All i'm going to do is just write out the basic plot or synopsis of this new idea. That's it! Nothing more. Just want to get it down before I lose it."
And so you type, and type, and revise and edit, and type, and before you know it, you have this new novel plotted out, and some characters created that you are dying to explore. You make a feeble attempt to go back to the novel you were working on before, and it's useless. So you go back to the new book and try out a few lines, just to see what kind of a narrative you can apply here. Maybe even get a sense of the overall tone of the work. So the idea expresses itself and you write out a few lines, and damn if they are not good. So you keep going and going, and before you know it you have three chapters done and feel you're on a roll.
And then it happens.
You get another idea.
And this idea…is unbelievably good. They're all good, but this one is really cool, and you can see it in your head developing from a novel to possibly even a movie or an edgy TV show. And so you say to yourself, "Okay, i'm just going to type up the plot and just save it for later while I finish up here."
Type, type, type type….before you know it, you are a hundred pages into this new novel, digging yourself deeper into this creative hole that doesn't seem to end.
And then you know what happens…?
Right. Another idea pops up. This one, just like the others, is in a completely different genre. So not only are you jumping from developing one idea to another, but you also find yourself bouncing from a suspense thriller type of book to a sci-fi fantasy epic, and then over to a young adult horror, then doing a sci-fi comedy then back to a mystery thriller genre, and so on and so forth. And not only do you bounce from one genre to another, but you also bounce from one format to another--jumping from Novel to Screenplay to stage place to short story to comic script back to a novel.
Honestly, I'm amazed that I can even finish a single thing at all. It seems my written output looks more like a graveyard of brilliant but unfinished works. It's a miracle that THE GESTALT MAN got published. I have a ton of other works waiting in line. But the sheer volume of the amount of work I'm doing, along with my normal day job, and the ongoing job of being a husband and parent, have made the writing incredibly slow. It doesn't help that I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my work.
I do wish I was a little bit more disciplined in how I approach my work. Some people complain about external distractions interfering with their writing…but what about internal distractions? How do you shut off the spigot? Do you even want to?
Do I even want to stop the flood of ideas?
Is Writer's Flood a problem? Yes, definitely. But it's a good problem. A problem I'm glad to have. In my mind, I am a kid again, playing in the sandbox of my imagination, saving the world one moment, destroying it the next, soaring through space in a starship, battling monsters, solving unsolvable crimes, traveling through time, and being both the hero and villain of my never ending stories.