Puzzling together a new idea is tricky
It’s a process.

I’m a consummate non-perfectionist.

I don’t care if things are messy and convoluted. I don’t clean my car daily, I don’t obsess about clean bed sheets rotated every week. I don’t freak out over typos and missing words. I just don’t get frustrated with myself about things that I can control.

I’m chill…mostly chill…

It is what I can’t control that drives me up the wall. Things such as mental health (which is an unfortunate thing that I can TRY to control but can’t), creativity, and the weather can all play havoc on the side of me that can be a bit of a control freak. Creativity, for all purposes of this blog, is the big one. Not being able to control my creativity drives me batty.

Now creativity, like any muscle, can be trained and flexed. It can be turned on. But if you ignore that muscle, the ability to flex it can diminish. Over time, it becomes weak. So daily I have to do something creative in order to keep that creativity focussed. Whether it is reading or writing, I constantly absorb myself in literature. I try to keep myself in the fictional world as much as I can and it isn’t always in fantasy or sci-fi (though those are my worlds of choice) .

Not having an idea is enough to make me frustrated!

I’ve been fighting with my writing muse though. It seems like every time I put pen to paper for a piece of original work, it just died on me. I had different ideas that seemed to not have anything that seemed to gel. The harder I pushed the harder it became to actually do anything. I was fighting myself and it was not fun.

So I started to take ideas that seemed too different and began to mash them up together, hoping something would stick. As a friend put it, it was like taking two pieces of Playdough and smacking the two different colours together hoping to make a new colour. This method doesn’t always work though. Sometimes it just seems like the ideas get worse and worse. You tend to run through a lot of bad ideas in the process. And I do mean a lot.

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. 

Oscar Wilde

I hate having bad ideas. Or at the very least I hate having incomplete ideas. I want every single idea to be this big glorious idea that I can write and have it be something people will like.

But if I am honest with myself (and gosh I hate that I have to admit this) 95% of my ideas are bad. They’re just too lame. I don’t fear weird ideas or great ideas or off the wall ideas, anything like that but just pure lame, done over tired ideas tend to happen. Especially the ones you get post movie/tv show. Ugh, I hate when that happens.

But (and yes there’s a but)

I love it though when an idea comes together. When you can feel it coming together and everything just starts to gel. Maybe some things aren’t so perfect, maybe you have to fix some characterizations and settings, but wow, when it starts to happen you start to feel that flutter in your stomach and it is pure excitement. You’re going to write something you love.

This is me saying I hope to have found my next idea and I love it so far. I’m going to go through stages of hating it, especially when I do my outlines and fight with the characters, and as I get to know the feel of the story. But in many ways I’m just excited to start something new!

The process of a new idea tends to take a few stages for me

  • Grain of an idea
  • Sprout of an idea
  • Bud of an Idea
  • Blossoming Idea
  • Full-on Glorious Flower of an idea

So you see, I tend to see flowers and ideas as the perfect mashup. The hardest part is just letting them come to fruition.

Sometimes, you need to prune the idea and wittle it down to the bare essentials and then replant that idea in hopefully fresh soil. Or reused soil. I’m not really that picky. Not all ideas, once they start to blossom, are worth your time. Sometimes the best ideas were planted a while ago but you left alone to grow on their own.

Other times, you need to move fast because they are short-lived. Some ideas don’t last forever and some of them don’t grow without constant care (which sounds and really is exhausting). It isn’t necessarily hard to care for an idea but some days are easier than others when the idea just keeps pummelling at your brain. 

The hard part is determining whether you need to let your idea grow first or whether you need to charge full-steam ahead. I’m guilty of doing the latter frequently and then I run out of that steam because I didn’t think it through thoroughly. 

So what I do: after drafting up preliminaries, I let my idea sit for a week. If I just can just last that long without touching it, I know it has potential to at least  be finished. It might not be the good idea that rings bells with readers but it might be a good idea I just can’t wait to see out in the world in some form. Not everything has to be high level publishable writing but it should be something you like.

Stacie Hanson