The idea hits you like a lightning bolt. It’s a simple plan, but the sense of something epic behind the first idea is there. You just need to nurture it and help it bloom into a story that you can’t wait to write. There’s only one problem. You can’t get any time to clearly jot the idea down. What do you do?
Well, you have a few options:
- Damn everything and scramble for the nearest pen and paper.
- Pray that you remember the idea. Just pray for all you’re worth.
- Forget writing for now and just follow the idea in your head. Every second that you can step out of reality, you think of that idea. Forge it into your mind, so it doesn’t go anywhere.
You can probably tell, which option I’m going to focus on. Now, the first idea is the most common and the second is the most disastrous. Yet, the third one doesn’t get much attention, does it? We all assume we’ll remember the idea without focusing on it because our minds are like steel traps. That backfires. So, we accept that some ideas will come and go at the worst time. That sucks.
Now, I really wanted to write down the ideas for ‘The Slumber Wars’ this week and was waiting until I got more into my chapter writing. One agonizing back pain later, I’m probably not going to get to it unless I give up my #1 goal of finishing 2 chapters. So, I’ve been thinking. Seriously, I’ve been thinking very hard about this series and others to make sure they stick. I run through them when I have time to drift away. They might not be perfect by the time I get to a piece of paper, but I’ll have enough to jog the missing pieces out of my mental trash can.
Now, does this equal progress? As an author, I’ve typically thought of progress as getting words on the paper. If it isn’t written then it isn’t permanent. Yet, I’m wondering if all the ideas that I wander through when I’m not writing are still important steps forward. Yes, I’d love to focus on the tangible creations, but those wouldn’t exist without the ephemeral ideas. All story ideas start like this at some extent. Whether it be an intriguing character or a simple idea, these ideas are the spark. So, one could say that the nurturing we give that spark before writing it is progress even though it’s all in our head.
So, do you think the brewing thought stage is progress or nothing more than a dangerous way to work on an idea?