It goes wild, doesn’t it? All the time, or some of the time, or when we’re afraid, or when we’re sleepy, or tired, or bored, or …
A writer is the person who lets the imagination go wild for a while, then tries to tame a bit of it, then shape it into something to share. It’s not easy to tame these things, they like being wild and free, to go charging off here, there and everywhere.
But would we give it up? Not a hope in hell (or anywhere else, for that matter). It’s the thrill of the chase, followed by the hard slog of the shaping – and then, the good bit – the sharing with others.
Lots of writers put their little dancing ideas down in notebooks and leave them there for a while, but let me tell you what happens: those little ideas escape, they go chasing another mind, another storyteller, and they tell them about their juicy little bit of fancy. And if that writer doesn’t do anything, what do you think happens?
Yep, off to find a new mind, put a thought in that process, see if they can barb a hook into that head. That’s what they do.
Is there a lesson in this?
Know that the idea isn’t yours alone, and what you do with that idea will be completely different to how anyone else deals with that idea – yes, even if it’s in the same genre, the same setting, the same characters. Because no one person writes a story from the same perspective, unless there’s two of you in the same head (and even then …).
So, if you don’t want it, don’t write it down, don’t hang on to it for later – release it, let it fly free until it finds a suitable home.
The ones that come to you and you can’t get it out of your head, that won’t leave you as the sun rises, that keep niggling and stabbing and distracting you – that’s yours. You have to do something with it, you have to put that passion for that idea into some sort of shape. Build a concept and premise, give it a reason to live, give it life, then set it free as a whole and complete story. Your story.
It will set you free. Not just getting the story out there, but the whole process of it. Having a story idea that creates a passion, and compulsion, a driving desire to ‘do’ something with it, that’s the one for you.
And once you hold its hand and shape it and share the joys and terrors and thematic lessons from it, once you bring it to a shape that enables others to share that passion, it will set your soul free too.
Good luck with that (because even though it sounds easy, it’s only the fun part, because talent [ideas] without hard work don’t mean blat, right?).