Idea have a habit of breeding more ideas, this can be brilliant and make you really productive or it can de-rail the writing process and you simple have too many ideas and fail to take any to completion.

A way around this is write an idea spiral – draw a light spiral in pencil on a piece of paper and then starting in the middle start writing down your ideas. If there is just one then it can sit there and await for more ideas to turn up but if there are lots then keep writing them down.

Once the spiral is full surround it by four other pieces of paper and analyse the ideas. Are they all different ideas, or connected? Sometimes things seem like lots of ideas but are pretty much just the core different stanzas for the same poem. Group the ideas on one of the four sheets, list them in priority order that you would like to write them in on the other. If they are a large sequence or set then set out all the interconnections and relationships on the third piece of paper. The last piece is for anything else that might occur to you.

If you have no other ideas or current projects then now would be the time to add another four pieces of paper to the corners to make a large square. Pick one of the ideas, preferably the one you listed as top priority, and create word web, what associations does the theme or concept have?

On the second piece, write down bullet points of related concepts.

If you wish it to be a structured poem then on the third piece of paper create a structured outline to shape the finished poem to.

The fourth piece is for you to actually write the poem.

Once that poem is written you can remove the four corner pieces of paper and put fresh ones in place and do the same for the second idea.

If you have lots and lots of ideas it might be a good idea to just create the initial spirals to get the ideas off your chest or out of your brain. Then place these spirals in a folder for looking at later on after you’ve completed what ever the current writing goal is!