Nothing beats the feeling of stepping into that inspired NEW IDEA. The possibilities! The excitement! The newness! It’s a high that every writer loves to enjoy.
Here are some tips to remember when you’re looking at committing to a brand new idea for the long haul:
SIT ON IT FOR A BIT
Whoa there, Nellie. Let’s not go saddling ourselves to the first new idea that makes an appearance. Show a little discretion! Jeez.
I don’t care if it’s a novel, an article or a friggin’ haiku: committing to an idea is serious business. Ideas take effort. Wasting time working on a new idea that you’re gonna get bored with in a week is a week’s worth of effort wasted. And ya’ll don’t have time for that!
Think about the idea. Keep it soaking in your noggin for a few days. If you find your thoughts drifting back to it ~ if it starts to take root and sprout little buds in your brain ~ then give it a go. If it fades or a “better” idea comes along then, well, at least you haven’t invested too much time dwelling on a lost cause.
WASTE NOT, WORD WIZARD!
That being said, never let a passing idea go to waste! Keep an Idea Book. Write down every little idea that comes to your head. Yes, even if you think you’re never gonna use it.
There’s been a few ideas that I’ve written down with no intention of ever actually writing it, only to come back a year later and be like:
Holy brown booby bird…
…this shit is great!
Every idea is a gift from the tiny gnomes that run the Creativity Department in your brain. Start rejecting the gifts, and those sensitive little buggers will stop producing them ~ especially when you need them! Be kind, say thank you, and write those ideas down. Keeps the gnomes happy and everything running smooth.
THE BIG STEP
Committed to that new idea? Hell yeah! Frolic in that shit! No, seriously, frolic. Soak up every last second of enjoyment from this here honeymoon phase.
Right now, you’re probably filled with this big ass ray of sunshine and optimism. Bask in it. Use it. Write down exactly why you feel this sunshine, and what it is about this new idea that makes you so excited to write about it. Get it down now while it’s fresh so that, when the feeling fades and all that’s left is hard work in front of you, you’ll have a bit of that former flame to keep you warm at night.
DON’T EAT THE DAMN SEEDS!
Quick note: Your initial idea is just that ~ an initial idea. Often times, they’re the seeds of something much grander. You have a lotta work ahead of you before that idea becomes fully fleshed out. Work on it. Take the necessary time to really make it shine.
THERE’S AN AUDIENCE FOR YOUR WORDS
What about when the doubts hit you early on? When you realize that no one could possibly be as interested in the concept of this idea as you are?
Listen, pal: do you know how many people are in the world? I mean, I haven’t checked in a while, but I’m pretty sure the number is edging toward a bajillion by now. That’s a lot of goddamn people. And you know what? Some of them have got to be interested in the ideas you’re penning. Like, at least four. Plus your mom. Which makes five.
I can guarantee ~ no, I friggin’ SWEAR to you! ~ that at least five people on this planet will give a damn about the stuff you’re writing about. Possibly more. Probably more. Hundreds more! Each of us may be a special little snowflake, but quite a few of us special snowflakes seem to have the same hates, loves and interests as the other special snowflakes. That’s what makes it the shared snowflake experience. I mean, human. The shared human experience.
If you’re interested in the idea enough to write about it, there’s gonna be a lotta people interested enough to read about it. Imma low-ball at five in case you’re, like, a serial killer writing about the gruesome death of puppies. In that case, I think five readers would be way too good for you, puppy-killing scum!
But if you’re writing about something less terrifying, you probably have yourself a good readership. And you can practically quote me on that.
For your convenience, here’s the quote:
At least FIVE people will be interested in your idea. Also, space is a lie. ~ Cedillo, September 2018
KEEP IT TO YOURSELF, DAWG!
I seriously cannot stress this enough: When you get a new idea, do not tell ANYBODY about it! Not your spouse, not your writing group, not your imaginary pen pal Jorge. Shut your mouth, clench your butthole, and keep everything inside.
A new idea is like Pandora’s box, ‘kay? Open it up, you’ll let everything out, and you’re never gonna get it back in. What you need to do is keep it all shut tight. Hoard it like friggin’ Gollum to his Precious. Let your urge to share the awesomeness of your new idea be the motivation that gets you to hurry up and write the damn thing. Don’t give us the quick premature summary. Dazzle us with the finished product, in all its glory!
*Sigh* And, yes, I understand: sometimes we need a sounding board. Someone who will recognize your ingenious plotting and rub their hands together alongside you like an evil mastermind’s sidekick. Someone who will bitch slap the crud outta you when your plots take a turn toward the stupid. I get it. Have that sounding board. Sound away! But still try to keep a little bit to yourself.
HONEYMOONS ARE NOT FOREVER
Never doubt it for a second: no matter how much you love it now, this idea will lose its spark. You’ll get annoyed with it. It’ll suddenly become the worst idea you ever thought up and you’ll give anything to have a new idea come bursting through the window and smack you on the face.
If you’re in the “sit on it” phase: Alrighty, then. Move on.
If you’ve committed and put a lotta goddamn work into it: Chill. It’s all part of the process.
Remember the frolicking thing? Where you wrote down exactly why you loved this idea and why you were so excited to write about it? Yeah, this is the exact moment you should be busting that shit out. Remind yourself of that love.
It’s never as bad as it seems ~ that’s just the word-weary writer in you talking. Take a breath. Center yourself. There’s a reason why you picked this idea. Or why this idea picked you. Something told you that it needs to be written. Remember what that was, and write on.