Unlike many of my fellow writing comrades, I do not suffer from writers' block. Please do not be envious, for the opposite is just as detrimental a malady. What plagues me instead is an ongoing rush of thoughts to the brain that cannot be constrained. I always have too much to say. One would think that this would be a blessing, right? Well I can tell you it is not. As a busy parent, with little time to write, staying organized and focused is crucial. I get frustrated because I am often neither.
My stories seem to get started but never finished. I have way too many WIPs. There is seemingly always some new idea that is more enticing than the last, popping into my head and distracting me from the current project at hand. Am I alone in this?
I don’t know about you, but my faults lean towards the tendency to want to put too much detail into one area of my book, when I should be working on another. I want to delve into every scene and obsess about it, or get lost for hours in overly tedious dialogue that I could easily work on at a later date. I've been like this since the 5th grade. I'll never forget agonizing over a paper I spent the entire weekend perfecting. Monday I was scolded by my teacher as it was meant to be a three page practice in creative writing. I had proudly turned it into a 13 page play, thinking I would get a high mark for my efforts. Hardly! I had to can the entire thing and start fresh.
Shouldn't I be past this phase yet? By all means I know what I am supposed to be doing with that precious time. It’s just so difficult to stay on task when thoughts are flowing. Sound familiar? If you recognize yourself as part of this gaggle of gregarious gabbers, I may have found a great remedy.
Try channeling a favorite author. Think of the poet, author or playwright who inspires you most. Simply pretend to be them for the duration you intend to write. I personally like to sit at my desk and become Sue Grafton for a few hours. (What a dream that would be!) I find her composition to be very clear and concise. This in turn aids me in being clear headed and concise, which means I spend way less time editing.
For any females who need a cure for wordy vivaciousness, I recommend assuming the brain of a Victorian era author. Incessant speech would have been viewed as intolerable in those days. These fine women would never have considered being such a thing as verbose. So remember when you are going overboard, that you would rather be invited to tea than deemed a bore.
This exercise is a sure bet when I’m heading off the deep end. I hope this both helps and amuses you, when you need to stifle that muse a bit. I know that if my erudite grandmother were still alive, she would have agreed that sometimes we writers just need some reigning in. She would have told me to slow down, because sometimes I just have way too much to say.