Decisions: What To Write Next

I've heard a lot of writers say: "I just can't decide what to write. I've got all these great ideas, but I can't figure out which one to work on. I want to pick the most marketable idea, but I end up confused."

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Part of the problem is that they're trying to second-guess or predict the market. Will vampire books continue strong or should I switch to a fantasy elf book since The Hobbit is coming out at the movies? Or maybe I should write Martian werewolves? Will Romance be just as popular next year or is Mystery going to be the hot new genre?

Indecision Leads To Writer's Block

Never try to write to the market. Write the story that's keeping you awake at night and captivates your imagination in the daytime.

If you still have an embarrassment of riches in the form of story ideas or premises, and you truly cannot decide between all the options, then an off the wall decision may be required. You can engage in some fancy psychological charts and processes to arrive at an objective decision or use my simple method.

K.I.S.S Decision Process

Yep. Keep It Simple Sweetheart. This Decision Process is a no-brainer, and it works because it gets you moving on SOMETHING!

1. Write down each idea on a slip of paper.
2. Put them in a bowl.
3. Have your spouse or your kid or your neighbor draw a slip of paper from the bowl.
4. Whatever it says is what you will write next.

Believe it or not, this really works for people who can't decide because they're confused by marketing decisions or other concerns that make them always second guessing themselves.

The Ground Rules

1. You must agree to write the idea that gets drawn so only put in ideas you really want to write.

2. You must get someone else to draw the name just to keep you honest.

3. You must tape the slip of paper over your work desk or monitor so you can see it each time you sit at your computer.

4. You must take action immediately. The key to goal achievement is taking immediate action. List the steps needed to write the book from beginning to end and block out the time on your calendar. Do it now.

5. You must save all the other slips of paper for future use. If you get a new idea, don't stop to mull it over or make notes, just write the idea on paper and add it to the bowl.

6. You must agree not to work on any other ideas until the first idea is finished.

This works because you're separating all the confusing marketing information from the creative process. You want to get it written before you worry about marketing.

This removes the confusion and emotion and all the other factors that have tied your hands in the past. This allows you to move forward, focusing on the idea you drew without losing clarity of purpose, because you now have your work in progress defined.

Takeaway Truth

Stay on task. Stay focused. Keep your thoughts on the work at hand. Keep your eyes on the goal.

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