Ideas are the lifeblood of writing. Whether it’s for a novel, a short story, or a blog post, almost every piece of writing begins with an idea. That idea could be as basic as “man wants to avenge murdered brother”, or a full plot outline.
Ideas come from everywhere and anywhere. Susanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games trilogy, says her idea came to her as she flicked between a reality TV show and footage of the Iraq war. In her head, she wondered what those concepts would be like combined. Agatha Christie cited her own grandmother as inspiration for her Miss Marple books, due to her uncanny ability to predict events.
Wherever your ideas come from, you might have a selection which you’ve been sitting on for years. I certainly do. However, at work today I realised I’m therefore not used to coming up with any new ideas. I instead like to develop and hone the ones I already have, because I feel like they need to be told.
Part of my job involves writing a weekly blog related to the industry my company is in – and I struggle to consistently come up with ideas as I’m not used to it. Fiction inspiration is different; as illustrated above, it can come from anywhere. Non-fiction requires you to know what you’re talking about, but I’m fairly new to the industry. I don’t know what I don’t know.
Once I’ve found an idea, researching and writing the blog post comes naturally. I’m even struggling with this blog – I’m only eight days in and already I’ve started running low on topics.
Another self-created ‘problem’ I’ve been having recently is that I would like to write my first novel. I have an idea which I really like, and it even has a beginning, middle and end(!) – but that may be a problem. Almost every article, insight and video about writing one’s first novel revolves around the idea that ‘it will be bad’. This makes sense, as generally people aren’t particularly good at something the first time they try it.
However, I’m not sure I want to ‘use up’ my good idea on my first novel. Since having this conversation with myself (out loud, of course), I no longer agree with this, but I’m not sure if I’m the only one. Part of me wants to wait until I’ve got at least one mediocre novel using a mediocre idea under my belt before attempting to write my good idea.
This links back to procrastination – I’m looking for reasons why I shouldn’t start writing my novel. Although I desperately want to do it, I’m looking for any reason not to. It’s a strange place to be in. I’m an inherently lazy person, so I can’t say I’m surprised at myself – but I also recognise that acknowledging my procrastination does not mitigate it. I keep telling myself that I’m just not quite ready yet, but in that case, will I ever be?
I suppose not. So perhaps I’ll make a start on my novel… tomorrow.