A couple of weeks ago I e-mailed a friend who, in addition to her day job, is a freelance writer. I needed some advice: “Recently I’ve been doing a lot of reading, participating in Twitter chats, etc., that has given me lots of ideas for blog posts and other writing projects. That’s the good news (I think). The bad news is that I can’t focus. When I try to write up something, I get distracted and read e-mail, check Twitter, look in on LinkedIn, or even start making notes for yet more blog posts and writing ideas.”
She wrote back, “Ahhh, focusing! The twin of writer’s block. It’s not as bad as writer’s block, though, because at least you have ideas.”
Since around the middle of last year, I’ve been in an exploration phase, trying out new things (mostly online) such as blogging, Twitter—both begun in August—and a few interesting websites. I’ve been reading a lot about all kinds of things, from technology to business to cooking. It’s been a good learning opportunity, but unfocused. The time has come to settle down and concentrate on a few of the things I’ve explored. Except my brain is still in overdrive and most of the time when I sit down to blog I instead add a half dozen or so items to my list of ideas for future topics.
I’ve even come up with a name for this problem: Writer’s Surfeit. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, surfeit means “Excess, superfluity; excessive amount or supply of something.” That’s exactly what I have—a superfluity of ideas, accompanied by difficulty (temporary, I hope) concentrating on carrying them out.