It’s one of the curses all writers dread. The inevitable attack of the plot bunnies.
Ideas can come out of nowhere. From overhearing a conversation, from seeing a really inspirational photo, from talking to your kids about bees. Thanks kids.
Concentrating as a writer is hard enough. With the stress of writing something decent, deadlines, organising your notes, fixing your plot and social media all vying for our attention, it’s only natural our focus wanes. We have enough to deal with as it is- extra ideas popping up when we least expect them (or want them,) doesn’t really help most of the time.
But what do you do when you’re suddenly inundated with a million and one different ideas? Especially when you’re already got something super important to work on? If you drop your current story idea every time you come up with a new one, you’ll never finish. But try to ignore that shiny new idea, and you’ll risk losing focus. So, what do you do when the plot bunnies arrive?
Note them down
When a new idea strikes, instead of ignoring it, take a moment to write it down. I keep all my ideas in a dedicated section of my bullet journal. But you could use any notebook/phone/document on your laptop- anything. This way you can continue your work knowing that your new ideas won’t be forgotten.
Do a rough outline
Sometimes, just writing down a new idea isn’t enough- especially if you start expanding on that idea naturally. If you still can’t focus, take a break from your current WIP and do a rough outline of your new idea. You can note down all relevant ideas and exhaust your idea fully before continuing with your current idea.
Take a break
Sometimes I find that too may new ideas stifles me creatively. There’s so much my brain is focusing on, I can’t concentrate on what I’m currently doing. So, I take a break from writing for a few days and just focus on ideas. My brain will eventually cycle through the ideas until it arrives back at my WIP and I can focus again.
Start a new story
One thing I always ensure I have, is a second WIP to work on in case of major writer’s block. This way, I can switch between the two (or three,) and always have something to work on. Hopefully. If you’ve been struck with a plot bunny that won’t disappear, consider actually starting the story so you have your writer’s block back up.
Use ideas as inspiration
Sometimes, ideas are just snippets. A phrase, a location, a situation, a conversation- and you don’t know when or how you can use them. Write these ideas down on some note cards and use them as writing prompts for when you get stuck elsewhere. I have a plethora of post it notes stuck to the front of my manuscript folder with phrases I want to use somewhere in my novel that I would otherwise forget.
How do you deal with the plot bunnies when they strike?
Good thoughts and happy writing!