Friday, January 11, 2008

The Idea Well

Everyone writer has one. We go to it whenever we need ideas -- whether it be for stories, or characters, or for chapters for novels or whatever. It's the place where all creativity is stored. Sometimes it's called our muse. That's probably a better description when the muse is being bitchy, but for the purpose of this illustration, it's a well.

After I sent my stories off, I was reluctant to get back to the keyboard. I wasn't the first couple days, but the longer I wait for responses, the less eager I am to get back to writing. I don't feel excited, and actually getting the words to flow takes longer and longer to do. I wasn't sure what was locking me up, but I've had trouble sleeping because I keep dwelling on it, and I finally figured it out. It came to me when I was clearing out old files on my computer.

Everynow and then I go through the computer and look at what I've got saved that's been building up and stuff. Obviously, since the virus fiasco, I don't have as much built up, but I'd like to think that deleting some of the crap time to time helps the computer run faster.

Well, I looked through my story folder at stuff that might be a candidate for deletion, when I realized something. I almost never delete anything I write, ever. Everything I've written (with the exception of some one page starts that fizzled before they got going) is still saved on there. I browsed through the files and found stories I started in the sixth grade that are still on there.

I finally got it, what I was afraid of. When I go back to my story, it's the first original idea I've had in a while, something that I just came up with when I was sitting around one day. I was inspired by the movie 12 Monkeys starring Bruce Willis, but it actually has almost nothing to do with 12 Monkeys, but I'm getting off track. The reason I'm afraid of going back to the keyboard and the reason I never delete anything, is because I'm petrified of running out of ideas.

I think part of the reason that I finished only one or two stories in my life and then left the rest to gather dust on the hard drive is so I could come back to them, write on them, improve them, make them pretty, and then leave them. I was always guaranteed to have something to write as long as all those stories were left unfinished, or the ones that were finished could be rewritten every few years as I improved in my writing.

When I sent off my stories, it was the first two I'd completed in a long time, and my mind went through shock. I just sent two ideas off. I can't go back and rewrite those, I can't improve them. They're gone.

The reason I never finished a novel idea was because I was afraid that if by some astronomical chance I got published, I was afraid I would be a one hit wonder. I was, and still am, afraid that if I get anything published, it's dwindling the number of ideas I'll have. I haven't settled into one genre very easily, I don't have ideas off the wazoo, I haven't, until a few years ago, written very much very consistently, and I don't dream that often to get ideas.

I'm absolutely terrified that I've already drawn the good stuff out of the idea well, and that eventually I'm going to draw stuff that either sucks, or that has been done over and over and over.

So . . . now that I've figured out the problem, I have to figure out how I can fix it.


MerylF said...

Have a little faith in yourself. Your well/muse/ideas file won't run out as long as you are alive and looking around you.

PJ Hoover said...

Well put! There are ideas everywhere. The only problem will be finding the time to write about all of them!

Jason said...

Thanks guys. I know it's a silly fear, I just needed to blog about it, get in some writing therapy.

In Sunlight and in Shade said...

I used to have the same fear, but I think it actually got sorted for me after I completed my first novel - I have more ideas now, everything is an idea, the more I write, the more ideas I find come my way.
As someone else said, have faith in yourself.

Jason said...

Yeah, I just need to stop being so critical on myself. I'm young, and I've got four years of college that'll be easier to write in than if I were married and had a job. I guess I just like to worry.