Too Many Stories to Juggle, Not Enough Discipline To Keep Them All From Falling

It’s starting to happen again.  All of these different ideas and characters are circling around inside my head and trying to tell me all of their stories, ALL at once.  Now I know what many writers may possibly be thinking.  How could this possibly be a problem?  In fact a lot of writers have the opposite problem, no ideas and no characters speaking to them.  

Well the problem that presents itself is that I have yet to finish the novel that I started writing last November for National Novel Writing Month.  I have no idea why I haven’t because it’s not as if I’ve lost interest in telling the stories of those characters.  In fact I am very intrigued to see if the main character in that novel will end up how I once thought she might end up.  It’s not as if she hasn’t been begging me to finish telling her story either, in fact I think she may just have some adjustments that could change a lot of what was going to happen.  

My problem is that I am a serial story hopper.  It’s not that I have never finished a novel.  In fact I am actually a published author (although you wouldn’t know it due to my inability to do a better job at marketing myself—yet another thing I must work on sooner rather than later).  I actually have another novel that is also completed that is currently in the hands of my editor now.  However, if you had any idea of the novels I have already started and stopped because I had another story enter my head and another character that kept shouting at me to tell it, you would probably laugh at my lack of discipline.  

That’s what it is, a lack of discipline to stick with one story from start to finish.  But how do you silence the characters that come to you in the midst of telling another character’s story that has nothing to do with theirs?  I mean you can’t completely ignore the ideas that come because if you lose them you might never get them back again.  On the other hand feeding into the constantly flowing stream of ideas is the reason why I have at least 5 or 6 novels started but left unfinished.  

I read one article that suggested writing down the ideas as they come and then setting them aside to finish the current project.  The problem I have with that idea is that once I get started writing that idea out, then I start sketching the characters, then I start to outline the story and the setting.  Next thing you know I’ve moved completely from one story to the next.  So what am I going to do about it?  

Well it seems that when I knew I was under the pressure of National Novel Writing Month I had no problem sticking to my one story.  So NaNoWriMo is having this thing they call CampNaNoWriMo where they do the same thing they do in November, just in June and August as well.  Since I’ve already missed June’s, I am going to do the one that they have in August.  

Technically you are supposed to start a new novel from scratch but I think that I am going to use the one in August to finish the one I started last November.  Perhaps that will give me some focus and discipline and then I can finally complete this novel before moving on to the next one.  Who knows, I might just finish this one and move on to another one that I already started earlier and finish that one up too.  Discipline is extremely key to a writer’s work because without it you would just be all over the place with more stories going on than any one person can handle.  Kind of like me! 


Jimmetta Carpenter


The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”


3 thoughts on “Too Many Stories to Juggle, Not Enough Discipline To Keep Them All From Falling”

  1. How is this going for you? All three novels I have written have their beginnings in Nanowrimo, because I am a lot like you, I jump not only from story to story but from writing to painting to sculpting to weaving. I’m also a stay at home mom, about 1/2 time and a substitute teacher but my kids are going to college and I need to find an income. Sigh. My novels have some fans but not enough to make me a paycheck. Anyway it is midnight thirty and I’m doing campnanowrimo but reading our posts instead of writing. gotta go.
    Dixie Goode

  2. I find that it helps me to create mind maps of new story ideas. The maps put my ideas in a form that kindof discourages long-form writing–so I don’t get pulled into that thing of starting with a character sketch and ending up writing the whole story. The maps let me house a lot of my ideas in a way I can access them when the time is right.

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