Question: How do you choose ideas? And don’t whine – I NEVER have any good ideas. Or those I get dry up about three paragraphs into them.
That is, seriously, rubbish. If you cannot come up with one idea in half an hour, then you really aren’t trying.
Buy a journal that is only for ideas. This can be a simple exercise book or a you-beaut, cost-an-arm-and-a-leg one. Just get one. Then go through your days to come and see where you can steal that half-hour on all of them for as long as you like.
Now to make your life really difficult.
Take one half an hour. If you are honest, you can find this time. Maybe you will have to forgo that exciting TV program where the plane is fallen out of the sky and you just have to know who survives. Most of us have some gadget or other which can tape the episode, or there are channels which have these shows on repeat or have one big binge of replays over the weekend. Or if you MUST watch it in real time, use the ad-breaks to think/brainstorm.
It really doesn’t matter what you come up with. The idea is to come up with 10 ideas. 10? Yes, 10. But they’ll all be junk you scream. They may be at first glance. But give each of those 10 ideas thought for another half-an-hour after you have finished writing them down.
You don’t have to think about them as soon as you have written them. Use the half-hour you have(hopefully) blocked out the next day to do this. If you can see straight away that the idea is really rubbish, then you can move it to a folder and keep using that half-hour for further shaving down the ideas.
Once you have finished your half-hour with one story or another and are sure you have something going, choose the one you like best and begin to write it. If the story goes a little haywire, stop that one and transfer your attention to another of the remaining stories. When you come back to it, the roadblock may just have magically removed itself.
Doing this exercise should not only remove the barriers you are having on one story, but you should always be working on one of your ideas.
Do NOT limit yourself when you are thinking. If you need a different atmosphere then get it. Go for a walk if your phone allows you to make notes and write down what ideas pop up. Or text to your computer at home. There are a thousand ways to keep track of your ideas these days. You can always carry a tiny notebook and grab your half-hour anywhere you want. All of us have breaks at work now and it is easy to take a drink with you so you don’t have to go anywhere when you are there. Or take a stroll near some plants or trees or greenery. For some reason, doing this sort of stuff seems to always bring forth ideas. Too many authors have credited it for it to be false.
By grabbing that half-hour, you can not only come up with some great ideas. You should, after a bit of practice, be able to develop 2 or even 3 stories at a time. And because Kindle especially stories can be any length, you do not have to panic about your length. You may have 1 that you can quickly see will fit a short story of 5,000 words, another that can just make 500 words, and yet another which may go for 70,000 words.
If you are going into the territory of 70,000 words, and you are fairly sure you can finish it, then don’t take any of your other ideas out until you have finished at least 1 of the 3 you have hopefully begun. Keep working slowly at all of them, but aim to have 1 finished by the time you are comfortable with stealing that half-hour.
And, remember, it is not really stealing it. What it is doing is making you responsible for your own actions. Washing machines are so smart these days, all you really have to do is put in, add some liquid or powder, select a few buttons and take the clothes out of there when they have finished. How many hours do you take out just to watch some program which has its twin sister on another station? Are you really going to miss anything, apart from the chance to get your writing career up and running? After all, you can also buy the series and binge on it anytime you like.
So get that exercise book or proper journal, find your half an hour – it can be in 15 minutes parts- and really put your brain to work. Nothing is off-limits unless it is something you are not comfortable with and then it is simply relegated to the useless folder. NEVER simply throw something you have thought off out. I have said this before.
You can ALWAYS brainstorm what it is that upsets you and rework it.
I will expand on this post at another time.
Now go find your half-hour. 🙂