How to Decide What to Write Next
How to Decide What to Write Next
So, you have A LOT of different ideas for books. Creativity is not your problem. Your only problem is to decide which idea to go with first.
I have some things to say on this matter because I also have SO MANY ideas.
I want to write in different genres like horror, romance, a middle-grade fantasy, fantasy young adult, literary fiction… I even thought about historical fiction!
So, imagine that.
I bet you can relate to it too!
Then, what to do?
1- Write what you love the most
This is a very valuable tip for those of you that seem to start writing but can never push through and finish it. Or maybe you can’t decide what to write next thanks to that.
However, if you follow this, I promise that this is it: if you write what you love the most in life, you will get to the end. You’ll be able to start and finish. Because you simply can’t stop talking about that.
I wrote a lot about this topic in this article here.
However, I’ll tell you again now:
How do I find the thing that I love the most?
Well, what is that thought that you can’t let go of? What are you thinking constantly about? What makes you passionate?
If your mom was talking about you to another friend, what would she say: she loves it so much, she never stops talking about this. Or maybe it’s your best friend.
For all of us, there’s a topic that our mind is always drawn to. It can be a terrible thing, like a betrayal, or it could be a silly thing, like a doll. Sometimes, it has been with us since we were children, so we ignore it.
In my case, I wrote my first book in a boarding school because I was addicted to the thought of attending one. Now, I have already graduated, so I have no chance of living my dream anymore. However, I could do it. In my books. Do you have a dream? You can live it in your books.
If you choose a theme you are passionate about, you will spend A LOT of time with that theme. Researching, writing, editing.
Writing a book is a lengthy and hard process. It will be MUCH easier if you could count on this theme.
Let’s do an exercise to help you:
Right now (I mean it, now) get a piece of paper or somewhere you can write a list.
Think about the conversations you had today or yesterday. Maybe check your phone. What was the topic that most appeared? Did you like to talk about that? Would you like to spend the next YEAR talking about that?
I think we all know the thing we love the most. Maybe it’s dogs. Maybe it’s Japanese cartoons (animes, okay, I know). Maybe it’s something very serious like politics or education.
Once you choose it, it’s time to put it into the story:
What if I love something very abstract like the concept of art? Or Democracy? I love to talk about that, but I don’t know how to fit it into the story:
The thing is, it doesn’t need to be your central theme. For example, you are really passionate about Parlamentarism in England. Your character goal can be of becoming a politician and you can write the message about being one in your books. The story doesn’t need to be ABOUT the topic, it can be correlated to the topic that you love the most.
For me, this is the best way to decide what to write next.
But my problem is that I love A LOT of things and I can’t decide the one that I love THE MOST to write next!
Then, if you really can decide the number 1 thing that you could spend a year talking about every day (writing about every day), you can try tip number 2:
2- Write the story that you can plot until the end
Sometimes we have a very good idea for a story, but it simply doesn’t have meat. You try to write about it, you try to outline it, or at least think about it until the end but it simply doesn’t seem to progress.
Maybe you have only a general idea and not a full story.
The best way to know this is to outline your story. Then, you will be able to see it until the end. Even if you don’t know everything now, try to set how things will be, so you can see if you will be able to go until the end or not.
Sometimes, we simply don’t have enough to say about some topics. I suggest that you write a short story for these cases. As short as you wish (500 words, less), until you are satisfied, and look for the next theme (that you love a lot).
Even if you don’t like to outline, try to imagine going for 200 pages with this theme you have in mind. Could you eventually do it? Even if you don’t know everything that happens now, could you come up with endless things?
I think I could do it about boarding schools. I really like this setting. However, I know I couldn’t go on forever talking about gardening. I wouldn’t have enough to complete a story.
Do this until you get the story that you know you’ll be able to finish.
3- Write what sells
If you couldn’t decide by now, write what sells.
Check this post here about publishing on Amazon. It teaches you how to find the right categories that are not too competitive but that also have people looking for books there.
Then, if you are toggling with a romance, a historical fiction about aliens, and a memoir, you simply can’t decide, try to go with the thing that it’s most easy to market, so you can have a financial gain in a short term. For example, you know that your romance will be easy to define the genre, find the right readers, and build your mail list. Start with this one, then!
4- Write multiple stories with an organized schedule. That’s what I do
And now, that’s for you that really want to write a lot of different stories, don’t matter what.
This is me!
I love to experiment in different genres and I can’t seem to have only one story in my mind.
Looking back, I realize that I’ve always been like this.
Therefore, what you have to do is organize yourself in a way that you can write everything you want and finish it.
Let’s do an exercise right now:
Get a piece of paper (you saw that coming, didn’t you?)
List the times you have available each day for writing. Even if it’s half an hour after the kids went to bed at night. Any time is good.
Try to think about how many words you’ll be able to do that night. I’ll say 2000 words per 2 hours just to make things easier to count (it doesn’t need to be this amount)
Then, try to come up with how long your scenes are going to be. If you can write 2000 words per day, this could be 1 scene per day.
Let’s say you want to write 3 novels at the same, 6 days a week, each novel with 20 chapters. Monday and Tuesday, you will write novel 1, Wednesday and Thursday, novel 2, Friday and Saturday, and novel 3. You can create 2 chapters each week per novel. This means that you’ll finish each novel in 10 weeks if everything goes as planned.
3 novels in 10 weeks!!! Imagine that, it would be amazing.
This is just an example for you to see how it is completely possible to do if you plan things right.
Try to do that:
1- List the time available per day that you can write;
2- How many words you will write per day;
3- How many novels you want to write at the same;
4- How many chapters/words per novel;
5- How long it’s going to take you to write?
You’ll see that it’s completely doable. The best part is that if you don’t want to write one of the novels at the time, you can just switch and write another one instead. Having multiple works equal less writer’s block.
I hope that it helped! If it did, leave a comment below!