How can a writer quiet the “inner voices” that distract us by showing with all the possibilities of story ideas, and then we have trouble choosing and writing our stories? Even after an initial idea and plot. How do I focus and ignore other “noises”?

However —- there are a few things that can help.

First, follow where the voices are telling you to go and do some serious thinking about that particular direction. If you listen and take the story where they are suggesting, what will happen? Will it still be the same story or will it be another one? Will you still feel the same when it’s written or will you wish you’d not taken their advice?

Second, depending on the answer, take that new path for your story — or jot down some notes so when you are finished with that particular story, you can write another story — a different story — the story that the voices suggested to you.

Third, simply tell those voices that you are listening to them, that you are giving them their full due, but right now you have something to do, a story to write, and they’ll just have to wait their turn. Ask them to be quiet for a while.

It might work. It does for me.

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