I am currently writing three different stories. I didn't start this on purpose, because I knew it would be very difficult to keep up, but I couldn't help it and kept getting different great ideas that would fit in different stories.

I've narrowed it down to three main stories that I've been working on. I want to narrow it to only one but I have a hard time choosing only one story to think about because I love them all. This is why I'm not able to finish one story because I keep jumping to the next ones.

What can I do to keep focused on one story at a time?

  • 1
    You may find my answer to this related question helpful: writers.stackexchange.com/a/26008/5645 In short: I think you would profit from focussing on one story at a time, and writing (but not working on) ideas for other stories into a "slush file" will help keep you focussed.
    – user5645
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 10:20
  • You've just got to love what you're writing Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 18:39

4 Answers 4


Here are some ideas:

  • List all of your ideas down, and gather the best points from all of them, consider what you think is most interesting.
  • Gather all of your favorite ideas and write them into one novel or a series that can encompass all your ideas (or the best ones)
  • Invest heavily into your characters, imagine their lives and intricacies. Make them your friends, and imagine living inside of your world that you have created!
  • Remember you're mostly writing for yourself - so if you're switching ideas a lot, you could write short stories instead to practice endings.
  • +1 particularly for the last point (short-stories). Although the other points are equally valid. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 20:43

I have a similar problem... or not. (I mean it's not a problem for me.)

I am writing five stories at the moment, but I focus on one at a time. For instance, I can write chapters for one story for six to twelve months. At that time, I typically start getting bored so I change to another story and focus on it.

That way, I avoid getting fed up with a story and I'm much more productive as, when I refocus on a story, I have a fresh overview and can feel excited about working on it. One of those stories is currently reaching 120,000 words (nearly finished).

Of course that's how my mind works and it does not stop me from finishing my tales.

I strongly advise you to follow @what's suggestion (in the comments) of creating a 'slush file' to jot down ideas for other stories, and do not take longer than 1-2 hours jotting those ideas.

If you get too excited with a new idea, it may be best to shelf the story you're working on and try to focus on that new idea for at least three months. Any less than that and you can't fully immerse yourself in your fictional world and characters (which will turn out cardboard-like).

If you can't focus on one idea at a time for less than three months... you've got a serious problem. You need to stop and analyse what is going on: why can't you focus? Is it the story? The characters? Do you have a terribly short attention-span? Whatever it is, identify it and work on it.


Ask someone else to pick the one that you should work on. Right before they tell you, you should know which you want to work on. Then, somehow, prevent yourself from being able to work on the other two, maybe give the files to that other person, and instruct them not to give them back until you have finished the one you choose. Repeat the process between the two left.


I keep getting different great ideas that would fit in different stories.

You may jot down the idea when it occurs to you, along with a note about which story you'd like to add it to. Jotting something down doesn't take much time.

Resist the urge to figure out where in the other story it should go, and how to adjust things in the other story to accommodation the addition.

Then get back to your goal for the day (or the week, month, or whatever).

Set yourself a goal and a reward for meeting the goal.

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