I woke up yesterday morning determined to write something new. Since my life fell apart last summer I’ve been out of the writing game for the most part, allowing myself to focus on healing and self-indulgently writing only when it helped that process (those blog posts are mostly on my body/personal blog). I’ve also been sorely lacking in inspiration. I did finally write something in January that I felt was worth submitting to an outside source – and it was accepted and published, SQUEE! – but even that was a response to a prompt from the website’s call for submissions.
The truth is, ideas have always been the hard part for me. I meet people all the time who tell me they have a million ideas for books but lack the skill/time/inclination to do the writing part – I am the opposite. I love nothing more than articulating my thoughts when I’m truly inspired, but I often feel I lack the imagination necessary to write great fiction, and one of my biggest fears is that Navel Gazing has tapped out the only ‘plot’ worth writing about from my real life (with the exception of my crazy family, which I’ll only ever write about in earnest if I can learn how to do it as gracefully as David Sedaris). Even NG might never have existed if not for the prompts and deadlines provided by my MA – how do you think I justified the time and money I invested in a second arts degree?
But it’s not true that I never have ideas. I may never have another full book-length idea (with apologies to my agent and editor!), but I’m not discounting the possibility, and in the meantime I am struck with the odd bolt of inspiration for a shorter piece, something more polished than a personal blog post. The problem is that I often forget those ideas and never get them back!
Last weekend, for example, I was in Napa on a wine tasting trip with my girlfriends and at one of the wineries we got to talking about body image (as we often do). A particular sub-topic came up and we all got pretty riled up about it, then one of the ladies turned to me and said “you should write about this!” I agreed wholeheartedly, resolved to put together a submission for HuffPo or some other such site, and then went back to ‘tasting’ (at this point it was more like straight drinking) wine.
Of course I had completely forgotten about it by the next day, but it wasn’t until yesterday morning, when I woke up with the writing itch, that I remembered that I’d forgotten what I wanted to write about. Luckily, with some brainstorming help from my friends I was able to recover the lost information, but I’m still pretty annoyed with myself for losing it in the first place; I mean, surely ‘real writers’ never do this kind of silly irresponsible stuff!
So here’s my New Years resolution, two months late: WRITE THAT SHIT DOWN. Carry a notebook and/or have a ‘note’ in your phone, but definitely write down every single idea, no matter how small, the instant it comes to you, you ninny. How else will you ever write anything worthwhile ever again?
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