The New Idea said, "You're gonna love this! Forget the last one - and the three before that - because this is it!"
WIP - Work In Progress. We all have them. If you are like me, you have STACKS of them. Once upon a time I took great care to keep all of these WIP ideas tucked away in a pocket folder. Now the ideas are tucked inside of various sketchbooks with thumbnails and notes and are over the place. The process has become messy and unorganized. Why? Because the ideas tumble out quicker than I can keep up! It's not a bad thing, but let's face it - some ideas are stupid and they steal time from the other stories that have potential.
Whipping the WIPs
Organize your ideas.
Take the time to wrangle the various scraps of paper, napkins, phone notes, sketchbooks...whatever you have recorded your ideas on...and get them together. In the end, it will get you together, too.
Store your notes and ideas in one place at home.
A bookcase, a file drawer, a cardboard box, a desk. For me, it's a plastic crate with hanging folders, in my studio.
Carry whatever WIPs you are currently working on with you.
Ideas for revisions happen at any time, so you might as well be prepared. It could make your wait at the DMV much more enjoyable.
Stay focused on what you can handle without getting overwhelmed.
This is a hard one. Personally, I am trying to get into the habit of immediately filing a new idea. Out of sight, out of mind, until I'm ready for a new potential project.
As one project slows, check your idea pile for the next great potential.
The idea that was filed earlier can be considered. If it doesn't have a viable story, does it have an illustration for your portfolio?
Unplug yourself and take breaks.
Writing or sketching every idea can make you nuts. Unplug yourself and go for a run, walk, bike ride...whatever it takes to disconnect and recharge.
In this creative industry we learn from others in our profession. These are my thoughts, but do you have a different experience to share? How do you tame your WIPs?
Deb Johnson is an illustrator and writer for the children's market. She loves character designing and story weaving...and is excited to see what God is knitting together in the process!