how the writer’s mind works…or doesn’t

I was typing up notes from my notebook recently (a somewhat ridiculous system, I’ll admit, but I can find no other solution) and I realized that I really like a few of the ideas I had scribbled down during my commute. These are completely unformed ideas, sometimes just snippets of a voice, but there were a couple I found really engaging and I found myself all giddy over it: monsoon terror! zombie fish people! cave dwellers!

But I fear I know the inevitable result: I’ll sit down and try to write and eventually I’ll get bored and stop. Either I can’t figure out the plot or the voice isn’t working or it just hasn’t sunk it’s teeth into me yet – for these reasons or other reasons or perhaps no reason at all. I’ll stay up at night fretting about the day I will go to the bookstore and see my zombie-fish-people-trapped-in-a-monsoon novel sitting on the book shelf written by another writer – a writer far more patient and talented than me, obviously – and I will curse myself for giving up so easily.

Dad and I had this discussion a lot, about how the project we had just started or were still mulling over in our minds was the idea we loved the best, simply because we hadn’t had the chance to muck it up yet. It would float in my brain, perfect and untouched, as I likewise floated down the hallways at school.

Icarus

Luckily I’ve experienced that sustained inspiration that represents a more lasting commitment between author and story, and I know that things can get even better (though rife with challenges). But sometimes no matter how great an idea may seem, it’s just not it’s time yet. Something in the cosmos, the muse…I hate to sound dippy and cosmic about it, but there has to be something lacking, some spark that stops me from completing my draft about the zombie fish people, or what have you. If only I knew what it was.

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Published in: on July 22, 2009 at 2:18 am  Leave a Comment  

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