Where to start - soliciting advice on where/how to start a project
So, I'm off a stint teaching English in China, still living in the country with a plush bank account and looking forward to two months of literally not having to do crap or worry about living expenses - the perfect setup for an artist.
It's been a while since I've been on the horse - I haven't seriously drawn anything since about October due to my erratic schedule and the ridiculous cold (indoors and out) here, but winter's thawing and I've got creative blue-balls: ideas that have come to me in the past months, inspiration from this wild and vivid culture I've been soaking in for nearly a year now, old ideas that I put on hold when I came out here...
But now... I'm not sure where to start. I'm literally overwhelmed with story possibilities. My aim is to start worldbuilding with the intention of deriving some kind of story out of it, but I've got inspiration from everything from Journey to the West to Asimov to little kids urinating on sidewalks all sorta swimming in a huge morass in my brain.
Utterly overwhelming. The paralysis comes from the fear that I'll somehow "pick the wrong seed," or later when I've started with a story and get distracted by another story I want to tell. Or like I'm fishing in a really mucky pond and every time I go for that sweet fish, I get a big hook full of scummy distraction or old, rotten, dead end idea.
Anyone else have experience with this dilemma, and how to wrangle it? How do you just start when you don't have an external assignment (or deadline, for that matter) to grow from?
I feel like that every time I come off crunch time on a job and suddenly have free time to work on my own stuff...
For me, the easiest things to start with are any long-running projects I might have neglected or something I started a long time ago and never finished.
If I don't have anything like that kicking around, I usually pick some of the smaller, simpler ideas to start with, just to get the ball rolling (okay, FIRST I spend a lot of time flipping out and saying "What'll I do!? What'll I do!? I want to do EVERYTHING!!") Or I'll do a lot of thumbnails and planning and brainstorming and jotting down notes for a whole bunch of projects, jumping between them all, until something emerges that I feel like I just HAVE to finish right now.
I'll also maybe pick a few projects to start with and divide my time among them - work on one this morning, another this evening, a different one tomorrow, juggling them around so I'm not dumping all my time on just one project. And then if one emerges from the mess as being top priority, THEN I'll focus on that one.
QueenGwenevere, it's really good to hear that someone else suffers from the same "everything" overload when confronted with the tyranny of choice.
What you describe doing is pretty much what I've been doing. Brainstorming, doodling, etc. Now I'm just waiting for it to warm up so I don't have to sit on my space heater with my gloves on. Drawing hand's screwed, too - chilblains: they suck.
What's cool is that without my brain twisted around the ins and outs of teaching English, I've been waking up with stories and stuff in my head, literally dreaming up plots and chunks of worlds. It's really, really cool.
This thread has been most helpful thus far. I know the "problems" you're going through. The best advice I have to offer is not see your problems as problems. It's all a process; you just have to figure out what stays, what goes, and what needs to be refined. Think about what ideas could fit together; their integration may just lead you to something even more interesting than what you started with. Just keep pushing. And like Neolight mentioned, just make notes of ideas and then draw them.