The Shelving Process.
When it comes to writing, us creatives are, well, creative. We have so many ideas flying around that it can be hard to keep it straight. But in the defense of productivity, we need to utilize a process called shelving.
I don’t know if Shelving is a real thing, but it is for me and I made it up for my own peace of mind. Others may call it something else, but that is what I have chosen to call it. The definition of Shelving is taking something, usually a project, dream, or idea and putting it on the shelf for the time being until it can be taken down again in it’s proper time and used or achieved.
When I write, I often have inspiration that comes for completely different stories, novels, etc. It could be a snippet, it could be an entire outline, or it could be a synopsis. From this can come great confusion and for years, instead of sticking with what was in front of me, I would hop around on these random ideas, always telling myself I would finish them at some point. But, let’s be honest. That sometime never came and a lot of them remain unfinished. My new method is to shelve these random ideas and continue working on the project that I am knee deep in.
Jumping around really isn’t all that productive, at least, not for me. I make sure I write these random ideas or stories down so that they are not forever lost to me, but once that is done, I shelve them. I put them away and let them go to the back of my brain to be used later. That way, they don’t infringe on my current WIP (work in progress) and I am able to focus, but the possibilities of those ideas are still there and they definitely have the ability to become full fledged novels etc.
This actually works for me when it comes to finished works as well. I tell this story because it was instrumental in the quality of my first published novel, London In The Dark. After finishing the rough draft, I shelved the whole project for 6 -8 months while I worked on other projects, namely a teen novel which is yet to be published. Giving myself the distance really helped me to detach my emotions from the current story and to open my mind to the possibility of changing it for the better. If I hadn’t taken that break, I don’t know if I would have been open to some of the needs my book had. There were holes in the story, and when I was in the ecstasy of accomplishing my first draft , I wouldn’t have noticed them. 8 months later, I was able to read it with a fresh set of eyes and approach it logically, knowing that there were quite a few things that needed to be re-written.
Shelving can be incredibly useful. In the case of writing, it gives us the ability to put away all the shiny new ideas and to focus on the one that is important in this moment. In the editing stages, it can really clear all the cobwebs and help us to focus on our stories in the whole with a clear mind.
Have you ever used the Shelving method?
By God’s Grace,