Actually, I have somewhere in the region of 240 documented writing ideas at present. And here’s a sobering thought: I’ve probably got more ideas left than time.
Many years back – I’m not sure exactly when, but it’s definitely more than a decade ago – I decided to create a document I could use to record my thoughts wherever and whenever inspiration decided to strike. I kept it in the cloud so that I could access it on the move, and I’ve added to it regularly since then. Some of these ideas are just one or two word sparks, a single line of dialogue or a snatch of conversation perhaps, while others are more fully formed.
Until recently, this document – which, with great originality, I titled ‘Ideas’ – was a source of great pride. Now, though, it’s in danger of becoming a source of disappointment and shame. Okay, I’m deliberately over-egging the language here, but there’s a serious point to be made. I was in my thirties (just about) when I started the document, and I felt like I would go on forever. There was no need to rush to get things written, because I had decades and decades ahead of me, in which I’d write countless novels and short stories. Well, hopefully that’s still the case, but only a handful of the 240+ ideas I have stored up have so far seen the light of day.
Writing is by turn an exhilarating and infuriating vocation. The writer often has surprisingly little control over what they get done and when. I’ve had fully formed ideas that have been written and edited in no time at all, and (several) complete novels that have each taken over a year to write but which haven’t been published and most likely never will. My average time for writing a novel start to finish is around six months so, using that as a starting point, it would likely take me longer than a century to get everything in my ideas vault written, and that’s not taking account of any future flashes of inspiration that might strike.
I think I need to try a different approach.
Another frustration of mine is that I frequently forget to post online. If I’m honest, it’s not so much that I forget, sometimes I choose not to do it, and that’s often because I’m too focused on finishing what I’m currently writing to look up from the screen. That can be a good thing, but I’m increasingly of the opinion that, in my case, it’s not.
I’m thinking of spending a period of time each week working on a random selection from my document, then posting it here for a month or three. I have no idea what will come of it, but it will definitely be an interesting experiment that’ll a) give me chance to branch out and try a few new things, and b) give you something new to read for free each month – a short story or novella, perhaps. Think of it as a Patreon perk, but without having to pay!
Before I commit, just let me know – is that something you’d keep coming back here for? What kind of things would you like to see?