Too Much of Anything: Why It Pays to Organize Ideas

Creative work, when you’re really driven, can be both exciting and frustrating. Exciting because you have a ton of ideas you want to execute, and you think them all brilliant, and they’re all floating in your head. Frustrating, precisely because of the same reasons.

I’m willing to bet you’ve heard the saying “too much of anything can be bad for you,” or variations thereof, the point being that an excess of anything will do more bad then good, and the moral being that you just have to moderate everything. And it is true, only the idea is associated more often with food, work, and spending money, more than anything else. Eating too much is unhealthy, and overthinking is unhealthy. It’s also true when it comes to creative work – getting too many ideas in your head and trying to execute them all at once will lead to you producing nothing of value, or something of little value. It’s easy to say that you can devote part of your time for this one creative project, and then another part of your time for another, putting everything in compartments and juggling things all at once. That’s something you can try doing, but whether or not it will work is something else entirely.

Having too many ideas will overwhelm you at some point, and it’s inevitable. Trying to tie them up and make something coherent out of them will give you a hard time, and maybe at some point you will give up on all your projects. While I’m still sketchy about giving pieces of advice (and these sometimes contradict each other, I’m aware), what you can do, when you feel overwhelmed is this: empty your mind.

Cut off the ideas that aren’t fully developed yet, the ideas that you’re not completely satisfied with. Ideas that sound okay, ideas that you can explain if someone asks you about them, you stick with. Organize your ideas. Brainstorming is a fun thing, and it likely yields a lot of interesting results, but having too many little things flowing will become to much in the long run. Group ideas and concepts together under general headings, and think of how one is related to another, before jumping in to attempt to execute your ideas. It’s a stretch, certainly, and I’m speaking only in broad terms, but I can’t really be very specific about this. The idea, though, is that a lot of ideas will seem indispensable at the start, and these may even be things you’re proud of or are unwilling to part with. But if your head’s streaming with a lot of ideas, a lot of concepts, sit down and ask yourself: are you really up for everything? Are all the things you’re thinking about things you want to execute, things that make sense, things that you can develop? When you try to group and organize your ideas together, you will realize which ones can be discarded and which ones can be kept. It pays to organize, because it will help you produce a tighter output, something less general, something more interesting, something that makes more sense.

Jillian

Jillian is an English Literature graduate who loves reading science fiction and fantasy, and is a big fan of J.G. Ballard. She is obsessed with coffee, video games, and rottweilers, and keeps herself busy by writing and walking around a lot. She’s currently reading Jeanette Winterson and a lot of YA literature.

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