I got the message – LOUD and CLEAR!

Okay, really. I got the message. I learned my lesson. I never want to sit in the doldrums again. Without a life jacket. Without direction. Without water. And with only a blank page.

When ideas are flowing like toddlers toward an open cupboard – stop what you are working on and write them down.

Really. Who cares if you have a new story outlined and the first 4 chapters written. Who cares if you are excited about your new project even if it’s only a first rough draft. Who cares if you won’t have to worry about needing a new idea until another 6 months to a year. Who cares!

Stop what you are doing. Pull out your pencil, pen, magnadoodle – whatever works. Unplug.

And I don’t just mean write a line or two. If the muse happens to be working for you that day, then take the time to free write and develop the ideas.

So I get it. I can’t force ideas when I need them! Yes, I hammered out a plot to the story I’m working on now – and that’s okay. But when I stopped putting so much pressure on my brain, it started to cooperate. So, I’m taking some creative time to develop some other ideas before my brain tucks them away where I can’t find them!

The brain is a funny thing that should never be underestimated!

When do your best ideas come? Do you find they come in bunches? Do you write them down?


17 Responses to I got the message – LOUD and CLEAR!

  1. Andrea Vlahakis April 23, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Oh, they always come when I least expect them, and usually at inopportune times–like when I’m just falling asleep. But when an idea comes, I grab something to write it down. And you’re right, you have to let it all come out, flesh through as much as you can. (I have that same little hiding space in my brain, where it tucks away ideas. Must be a standard feature for writer’s brains. 🙂 )

  2. Kris April 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    Coral those little doggies! Don’t let them get away.

    I had no idea where my next story was coming from (I admit I’ve feared that I’m a one trick pony). Then last weekend I read a news article that completely zapped an idea into my brain about a sequel to my story. I’ve totally got a loose plot floating around my head where there was nothing a week ago.

    You never know where those ideas are going to come from.

  3. Laura Pauling April 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Andrea – It’s funny how they come when you’re not trying!

    Kris – And you’ve got to write them down while they are there if the idea is flowing. I’m glad you have thoughts for a sequel. Fun.

  4. Creepy Query Girl April 23, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    I usually start out with a vague idea that I write down in its own file. Just a sentence. As I work on other things, random details will float up every once in a while and I think ‘hey that’d be a good edge for tha idea, or a good character, or a good scene with such and such dialogue. And I keep a ‘brainstorming’ file that just expands and expands until the day I’m ready to sit down and actually write it.

  5. Sherrie Petersen April 23, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    I’m always scribbling stuff on whatever is available–the back of a receipt, a bookmark. I’ve started carrying a notebook in my backpack and I sometimes take notes on my iPod. It drives me nuts though when I’m falling asleep and inspiration hits because I have to wake myself up and jot it down, otherwise I won’t remember in the morning!

  6. Laura April 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    CQG – That exactly what I do to! Of course, a lot of the ideas don’t ever see the light of a blank page.

    Sherrie – The late night inspiration is awkward. I don’t often get ideas when I’m about to fall asleep. I wouldn’t refuse them though. 🙂

  7. Karen Lange April 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    I usually write my ideas down, have pen and paper all over the house and in my purse:) Yes, they do sometimes seem to come in bunches, now that you mention it…
    Happy weekend,

  8. Karin April 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    I like to use my notepad on my cell phone, for little ideas. If I wake up in the middle of the night I write them down on a notepad in the dark. (This is often unreadable in the morning) I don’t think I have more than a few completed manuscripts, but I have about 23 half started ones, and 36 notes on brand new ones. I often work on two stories at once…I think I might need that Microsoft Snap Feature!! 😉

  9. Laura April 23, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    Karen – Thanks for stopping by. Have a good weekend too!

    Karin – I’d love to read writer’s scribbled notes that were written in the dark! They must be pretty hilarious!

  10. Shannon O'Donnell April 24, 2010 at 12:11 am #

    Great post – I love the Magnadoodle comment! LOL! Thanks for your comments at both my blog and Heather’s today. I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future! 🙂

  11. Terry Lynn Johnson April 24, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    I go for periods where I don’t write anything. Breaking the cardinal rule, I know. Then I get excited about it again, and write for a few days. As long as the muse stays. My brain is also a funny thing!

  12. Nelsa April 24, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    I don’t get tons of ideas at once but every few months ‘the one’ hits me and I mull it over in my brain for a while then I’ll scribble it down in my ever present notebook, trying to work out the bare bones of a plot. I’m in awe of writers who have more than one story on the go. I have to totally focus on the one idea until it’s completed or it stalls. Then I move on to something else.

  13. Catherine A. Winn April 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    I usually get a scattering of different ideas at different times depending on where I am or what’s happening around me. I sometimes can write them down, but most of the time I cannot. Then the “big” idea is the one that comes and demands to be written down and remembered. If I’m away from home, it’s the one that hangs around until I can get home. That’s when I grab pencil and paper and begin “bubble” planning.

  14. Kate April 25, 2010 at 5:49 am #

    All my best ideas come either in the middle of the night (often inspired by a dream) or when I’m doing something really boring at work, like covering library books. I’ve actually worked out the plots of two novels whilst cutting and sticking plastic!

  15. Anna April 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    My best ideas often come in the shower. I really need to invent some waterproof paper so I can jot them down! 🙂

  16. Karen April 26, 2010 at 2:53 am #

    Ha, you’re right. I used to think “Oh, I’ll remember that idea. ” Ha. Nope.

    I get most of my ideas in the middle of the night, so now I keep a notepad and pen on my nightstand. Sometimes, I can’t read my handwriting, but it’s better than totally forgetting the idea.

    But yes, stop, drop, and write is what I say. Ha.

  17. Karin May 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    Well, Laura, I just posted on my blog, those notes I take at night…..

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