On the first Wednesday of each month, many writer-bloggers participate in the “Insecure Writer’s Support Group,” an opportunity to share insecurities and fears with sympathetic souls and offer encouragement to others. I learned about this great idea early in my blogging life, but declined to participate. Not because I don’t have insecurities, but because I have a hard enough time sticking to a schedule. And, what if, on the appointed day of the month, I wasn’t feeling especially insecure? Or what if I was feeling especially insecure on the second Tuesday instead? So I sit it out, except as a reader and commenter.
Which is not to say I don’t feel insecure about writing. Of course I do. I worry that no one will like it. I worry that people will read it and think, “What’s wrong with that guy?” I worry that I’ll never get published, or that if I do, no one will notice. But what worries me more than anything? That I’ll run out of ideas.
To me, running out of ideas while still having the desire to write would be as horrible as watching a favorite athlete take the field when it’s clear that his body is no longer up to what his heart and mind wants. It’s one thing to wake up one day and say, “Meh, I don’t feel like doing this anymore”–if that happens, it won’t matter because I won’t care, right? But without ideas?
And here’s the thing for me: I’m not a big idea guy. I see people all over the internet talking about how ideas are “a dime a dozen.” Even today, over at PubCrawl, Jodi Meadows states “You’re a writer. You have lots of ideas.” Guess what? I don’t. While I do have a document on my computer called “Ideas” (very original, eh?), it’s not an especially long document. And I don’t know that I’ve ever actually gone back to it and pulled something from it and started working on it. I’m also not the sort of writer who generally has so many ideas in his head that he’s not sure which to work on at any given time, or who works on all six (or ten, or twenty-five) all at the same time. As I’ve said before, ideas for me are things that develop slowly, over time, with multiple inputs that coalesce at just the right time. In the past, these ideas have hit just when I’ve needed them, just at the point where I’ve either finished or been close to finishing one project. Maybe my subconscious deliberately keeps things trapped in the back room until it determines there’s going to be enough front room space to deal with it. The fear is that I’ll get done with a project and then…nothing.
I am glad to say that the back room hasn’t stopped working just yet. Though I’m still wrestling my current bear (and actually getting closer to jamming it into its cage), and have a year-old idea I’d like to work on at some point, a new idea came stumbling out of the back room last week. As is typically the case for me, it started with a question, and my question now is, “Could this be The Next One?” We’ll see. I still have that other fat fish to fry first (cheers for alliteration!), but at least the ideas are still coming. Have a great week, everyone.
How about you–do you have a lot of ideas kicking around at a time?
NOTE: It’s not posted yet, but since Carrie put out the call last week for submissions to her Query Critique, she might be posting the query today. Keep an eye on her blog and help a fellow writer out!