I once got sour looks at a writing event because I made the mistake of admitting, out loud and in front of a large group, that I don’t have trouble coming up with ideas; what I have trouble with is seeing them through to completion. I said this because a writer had just admitted that she had trouble coming up with ideas, but as far as I could see, that was minor because she could finish and was in fact, published. I envied her.
But she didn’t seem to appreciate the grass-is-always-greener point I was trying to make.
Well she, and the other writers who’d given me sour looks. (To be fair, they were the nicest sour looks I’ve ever seen – more just a “you have nothing to complain about, sweetheart” than a “shut up and stop bragging” look. Which is good. ‘Cuz I really, really wasn’t.)
I do love having ideas, but it’s really hard to know which of the many to follow to completion.
I just got inspired a couple of mornings ago, again in that liminal time, but this time just before I woke up. I “dreamed” a situation happened to me, but when I fully woke up, it became the perfect “What if” for a picture book and made me excited to follow it. Now. Right now. As in, good-bye YA dystopian novel.
Except not really. So I wrote the sketched idea down and when I’m ready to take a break from my novel – soon – I’ll pull out my notes and start writing. Or I’ll pull out one of my other picture-books-in-progress and work on them.
It’s nice to spread things out and have different options, but it’s more important to know when to say to your Muse, “OK, you rocked with that idea but now I need you to chill out and help me finish the one you already got me hooked on. Yeah, I know it’s not as fun as that new idea but it could be if you’d just stick your butt down right here next to me and help.”
And don’t tell me you don’t talk to your Muse. No? Well, try it. The way I figure it, it’s only if she talks back that you might have a bit of a problem. (Of course, it also makes your life a little more interesting if she does…)