I believe brand new story ideas should be handled with care and attention.
Looking back I wish I had read a post like this when I was starting to take my writing seriously. I was so excited with my shiny new story ideas that I wanted to tell everyone I met about them. The trouble with this was that I didn’t realise a new idea is a fragile little thing. In the early days of its existence it’s not strong enough to withstand criticism from others. This scenario would often result in someone picking holes in my idea, my new story idea excitement evaporating and me reaching for my imaginary dustpan and brush to sweep up the remains of my new idea.
I also overlooked and dismissed many new story ideas because I had not thought about them for long enough. New ideas need time. They also should be left at the back your my mind to stew.
So, today’s blog post is my advice on how to care for your new story idea.
Here’s my list of things you should do:
- Accept that what you have is a wisp of a new idea for a story. It is fragile, delicate and can fall apart if treated roughly. New ideas should be boxed up inside in your mind or in your writing folders and labelled with FRAGILE. The tricky bit is that some new ideas get you so excited that you want to release them into conversations, in blog posts or onto social media. This is when the trouble starts. Someone will unintentionally damage your new idea by pulling it apart in a conversation or on a social media post and this is heartbreaking. Be strong with your new ideas and box them up!
- Nurture your idea. Give it a chance to grow inside your mind. Be kind to it. Smile when you think about it and keep those pesky writing demons away.
- Examine your idea. Until you have studied and examined your new idea, you can’t label it as rubbish. Accept that the examination process can take weeks, months and years.
- Let it stew. Your idea is the teabag and your mind is the teapot. This is very important. Go about your daily life and let it stew. I have learnt that stewing is so important and there is no timeframe for how long you keep it in the creative teapot either.
- If after all of the above you find it doesn’t work then file it away for your future self. Here’s a secret about writing which I have discovered – some story ideas are meant to be improved and perfected by the future you. Stick a note on your new idea file with the words; ‘Dear Future Me, here’s a little something I made earlier for you, enjoy xxx’ Look at the future you as an extra writing resource!