So you have a good idea? There’s one you captured because you’ve become a good collector of ideas (see my prequel blog post to this called Be a Collector of Ideas). You jotted the idea down in your ever ready notebook and now it’s all you think about. The idea grows and grows until it morphs into a full blown story, and if you don’t start writing the story soon, the character or characters in your head will mutiny and will never let you sleep again.
Your main character is a salesman from Kansas and he loves to ride bikes. He has a thing for chocolate mint ice-cream and hums to himself wherever he goes. He’s a thin guy with a mole on his chin, but his smile seems to be infectious as it brightens anyone’s day he shines it to. Everyone he encounters leaves with a bounce in their step (and no, they aren’t infected by the Xithendkiyta!). And then he mets Gimerla Do.
That gorgeous red-head that also happens to be blind. Must have spent too much time looking up at the sun as a kid or maybe she was born that way. Doesn’t matter because Gimerla Do is all the right kind of beautiful like a landscape of perfection that causes a certain calm and serenity to the salesman from Kansas, and maybe a little something extra below the belt too. Only Gimerla Do can’t see the infectious smile the salesman has learned to rely on so heavily to get what he wants. So what does he do now?
Notice how the original ideas have changed and morphed into something new (yeah, you really, really should go back and read Be a Collector of Ideas, or you just won’t get this at all). I bet morphed ideas doesn’t happen to you at all, does it? *wink*
That’s the funny thing about ideas. They never stay the same. It can be a fun experience, but exasperating at times. Why can’t things just work in a linear fashion (at least that’s something I always tell myself)? But they don’t. Ideas are a tricky beast that often have a mind of its own. It can be hard to pin them down and make them work for you. And that’s where the application of ideas can get dicey.
Also, sometimes ideas can lead to dead ends (yeah, that’s not frustrating at all!) And sometimes ideas fizzle out and die before they can be fully realized. Sometimes ideas just don’t work like you originally wanted them to, and some ideas never work at all.
So what is a writer to do? What happened to that writer’s toolbox stuffed with brimming ideas? That toolbox (those notebooks you should be keeping near you to jot down those ideas) is still there, but sometimes ideas need to be thrown out or changed, even if it’s something really, really cool and you really, really want to write it. And then sometimes ideas work just fine the way they are. The key is to be willing to be open to change and listen for the change, because sometimes the change comes so soft it’s hard to hear, and sometimes it comes charging through the door like a mad woman on a mission.
It’s not just important for a writer to be a collector of ideas, but to also be a nurturer of ideas. Give the ideas room to breath and watch them grow. Be willing to make the changes necessary to find the right path those ideas should take. Do these two things and there is no limit to what you can accomplish as a writer. The only true limitation is your own creative mind, and that topic is a blog post for another day.