SNIS — Death to ProductivityMarch 27, 2009 at 4:33 PM | Posted in Writing, Writing Advice | 4 Comments
A good 13,000 words into my dystopian fantasy, I realized that the featured world is severely underdeveloped. This depressed me.
So I moved on to another idea – cancer and attention whores and people you don’t want in your head. This was hard too, though, seeing as I know nothing about cancer.
I then decided to write an Urban Fantasy about playing God. This was difficult because it had no plot.
To take my mind off of these failures, I started a book about wolves. Unfortunately, the main character was a hopeless Mary Sue.
I needed a better, more rounded idea, so I cracked open a romance. This sucked because I fail at romance.
Shiny New Idea Syndrome–I’m sure we’ve all experienced it. Being new to the technical side of writing, SNIS is just about the only thing I understand–but that doesn’t mean I’ve learned how to beat it.
To be perfectly honest, I fail at resisting temptation. When the current WIP becomes too much, there’s always another, better, shinier idea lurking somewhere in the back of your head. It’s easy to distract yourself for a while; just long enough to develop a whole new arsenal of shiny new ideas. They’re shiny and tempting and shiny some more. So what do you do?
It’s a very well-disguised method of procrastination; it gives you illusion that you’re accomplishing something, and yet you probably realize that you’re never, ever going to finish anything unless you commit.
And therefore, you have a problem.
There are a few methods I use to ease the pain, but it nothing I’ve found so far makes it go away completely.
- Let your first draft suck. Go on. You’ve heard this before. You can fix it up with spiffy metaphors and hardcore statistics later. Just get more words onto the page.
- Make an outline of your current story if you haven’t already. If you know everything that’s going to happen, there’s sure to be some part that interests you. Jump to that part and write.
- Bang your head against a wall a few times. Not just a little tap; a brain-shattering whomp. I like this method.
- Start up a conversation with the most irritating person you know. My little sister is great for dismissing brain vomit.
- Make an outline for your Shiny New Idea; if that’s too easy, flesh it out. Keep on fleshing that outline until it gets difficult. Then go back to the comparatively fun, easy manuscript you’re supposed to be working on.
I highly recommend the head-smashing technique. Just make sure you have some Tylenol on hand first.
In summary, SNIS sucks. It sucks the living daylights out of whatever it is that you’re actually supposed to be writing. It sucks.
Once again: it sucks. And it seems to be invincible, too. Bummer.
If there’s a cure for this absurd affliction, I’d love to know about it.