When You Have Too Many Ideas
“What if I have too many ideas?”
First of all, if this is you, congratulations! You get inspired easily and you’re probably excited to start creating. You’re wide open to new things and the amazing potential for creativity around you.
But, sometimes having too many ideas is just as problematic and paralyzing as having no ideas at all. With so many ideas, you don’t know what to do first, where to start, which ideas call to you the most, or what to focus on, and you might not be creating at all even though you think about creating all the time.
I’ve had periods where I can’t get to sleep because every time I lay down, I have to flip on my bedside light to write something down or doodle a thumbnail for a painting. I usually have at least a few unfinished paintings hanging around my studio and several unfinished stories on my computer because I started those projects when I had so many ideas that I just kept starting and starting and starting…but never finishing.
Having trouble finishing projects may be a sign that you have idea overload.
Here are a few ways to handle ideas that flow like water from a fire hydrant:
1 – Record those ideas – It’s hard to imagine now, but there probably will be a time when you don’t have as many ideas and you’re scraping for something to create. Write down the ideas you have now, record them as audios in your phone, do whatever it takes to observe them, and then you’ll have them for dry spells.
2- Combine some ideas – If you have several different ideas for projects in the same medium, could you combine a few? Could some of those short stories turn into one or two stories? Could all those colors and compositions and details swimming around your head come together in one piece of art?
3- Work on a few…just a few…at once – This method is tricky, because it’s easy to start twelve different projects and never finish any of them, but if you feel like you can juggle two or maybe even three, go for it! The trick is not to spread yourself too thin. This might look like working on two paintings at once so that you can let one canvas dry while you do something with the other, or working on one story before work and a different one before bed. Give it a try and if you feel like you can juggle different projects and actually finish them, give it a try! Sometimes it’s a great way to work.
4- The Wild Donkey method – I borrowed this idea from Leonie Dawson, who is a creative powerhouse and all-around amazing person. Basically, an idea (a wild donkey) shows up in your paddock, and you jump on and ride that sucker ‘til it’s tame. in other words, you start that project and power through as fast as you possibly can until it’s done. Then, you can start on the next thing. This can be a great way to get your ideas out of your head and into the world at breakneck speed. You can always perfect later, but sometimes the most important thing is to get those ideas out!
Try one of these, all of them, or mix and match. Either way, celebrate this burst of inspiration! You’re a creative powerhouse with so many wonderful ideas. I can’t wait to see what you create!