Dealing with my Idea Cancer

As the title of this post may suggest, I have a problem. It’s a bad problem for an author to have in many ways.

As you may know, I have a set list of projects that I wish to get done this year. Many of which are first drafted and ready to be edited. My major problem in that regard is that I need to get more editing done and move some of those first drafted stories down the production line.

But that is only one problem that I have. Above my desk is a two-foot by four-foot cork board filled with cards of the different novels and worlds that I am working on.

Here is an image of the cork board:


Each column is a story world, each card is a novel or short story. You can see the number of different stories that I want to write. It is a little overwhelming at times. The problem is that this week I have added three more cards onto the board. That is three more stories that I want to tell.

As my wife says, “There is no cure for idea cancer.”

The novel ideas that form in my head multiple like rabbits, grow like dandelions or mutate like cancer. It is a difficult thing to deal with Idea Cancer. Each novel idea wants attention, and its story told. However, I only have so much time in the day.

What do you do when you discover you have idea cancer?

The first thing is not to ignore the idea. Damning the ideas is not a good thing. It leads to an idea drought that will hurt an author more.

The best thing I do is to recognize that I’m not going to change projects. (Unless it has been years without being complete, but that is a different problem.) The project that I’m working on needs to be completed. Getting distracted by a new idea is not the way to do it.

I take a few minutes and write down the idea. I don’t elaborate, but write notes. I will stick the idea someplace to keep track of it and remind myself of the idea for later.

The idea is not to let it distract me too much.

Right now the idea I had is a story where the players of a VRMMO get stuck in the video game. It is like an earworm. No matter how long I shout, “Get out of my head foul beast!” It won’t go away.

I have written some of the world building for the story, and I’m happy with what I have created so far. It’s a Siren, calling out to me from the waves. I will resist this and not change projects. I have a list of stories I wish to get to and I will.

Now, this is not to downplay those with Real Cancer. Cancer is a horrible disease, and I wish the best to any that get it. The imagery on the issue is a strong metaphor that seems to work. And it’s bloody funny.

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