Here's how I work. I write 2000 words a day, give or take a few. At some point during this process the idea for a new book pops into my head. That's where it stays, in utero, while I first write then edit and edit and edit the work in progress.
That's the, to use a phrase I find slightly pretentious, artistic process. At least that's what it's been until this year.
Don't get me wrong, I've been creating my 2k a day. The writing piece is working as it has in the past, but what's not working, or I should say is working on overdrive, is the bun in the oven piece.
Before I started the work in progress, I had to make a choice between this book and another book I wanted to write. Which was fine, I told myself, because I'll just write the next one, next year.
It can wait.
It'll be very tender and juicy after a year of brain marination.
A story that woke me up in the strange daze of pre-creativity that can take over an entire day. I wandered around my house with the dawning realization that THIS, this was the story that needed to be written.
It's beautiful, sad, but I think, an ultimately uplifting modern love story. I wrote the first page. Trapped my initial ideas on my laptop and thought, okay, maybe that's next years book.
Which was my working plan until this morning when another idea struck, fully formed, characters, plot, setting, title, everything. It woke me up too (like someone's been shooting my brain full of Pitocin) and I stayed in bed imagining all the details of this new book until the alarm went off.
So basically, I have triplets in utero. And like any expectant parent of three, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.
They ALL want my attention.
As any parent discovers, it's all about balance. But each idea feels more needy than the next. For the moment, I'm locking my book babies in virtual space and ignoring their clamoring (one of the many ways parenting books differs from parenting children). Hopefully, they'll be patient and wait until I'm ready to deal with them.
What about you? How do you manage ideas that catch you off guard?