You know what? I went skydiving last week. But before that, I met Lady Gaga. Actually, I won the lottery.
When I get ideas for more stories while I’m writing, I’ll jot down paragraph summaries in a word document. Then, when I have a few built up, I’ll revisit them to see if they developed or if they were truly a result of impulse. That way when I compare them, I can pick which ones were the best ideas, if any, and work on them next.
Also, when I write a story, even if I’m not finished, I’ll read it a few hours later and make edits. I’ll also read what was already written in a story before I write more to it. With this method, I’m constantly digesting the story, and the more I read it, the tighter I’ll be able to edit, or the more problems I’ll find. Many times I’ll get to the end of a story and decide that it isn’t very good. So I’ll scrap it.
Being able to toss work away is probably the best tool to have. Simply put, if I wanted to fill a square idea in my head, but I made a triangle, well, you get the point. Sometimes when we sit back and think about it, certain stories aren’t very good. And even if they are, if we had a square idea in mind, we need to make a square. So instead of driving yourself nuts over one story, realize the name of the game isn’t about perfection—it’s about creating a portfolio of finished work.
Remember, the more work you have, the greater your chances of getting published.
So, with that in mind, what do you do to stay on track?