So this is kind of like a follow-up on yesterday’s post…
I’m going to explain to you what I think I have. It definitely is not writer’s block, I can tell you that much. If I had writer’s block, I would not have a total of 120 story ideas. Now I have two scripts finished, two novels, and two children’s stories completed. Completed, as in written…not done-done. Anyway, I have ideas. What do I do with them? Clearly, I actually stuck with six of them, but what about the rest? This is where the A.D.D kicks in.
I have 12 ideas started. I may have written only one chapter, I may be half-way through the novel, or I may only have one or two chapters left to write; either way, I have not finished any of them. I have ideas for them. I know how they are going to play out. I’ve written the beginning, I have some middle to it, and I know how they are all going to end. Yet, I have not been able to sit myself down and actually write them. Why is this?
I can’t tell you the answer because I don’t know the answer. All I know is that when I get in the mood to write, I sit down and stare at the list of titles I have and what do I get done? Nothing. Why? Simply because I don’t know what to write. I think that is my problem: I have way too many ideas.
Now common sense would say to finish the 12 you have started before going onto anything else. How do you choose which one of those 12 that you want to complete first? Put all the titles in a hat and pick one from random? Sure, why not? Or maybe pick the one that is the closest to being finished or the one that is farthest from being finished. Okay, we can do that. But do we actually do any of that? No, of course not.
Ideas are all around us. Well, they’re all around me, anyway, I don’t know about you guys…but my point is that whenever I go out I see something or I hear something and I just have to write it down. No questions asked I just need to write it down so I have something to play with later on. Even though I should be playing with my already started story ideas. But take the other day for example:
My sister and I were getting dinner. I was sitting in the car while she ran into Subway. It’s around 6 PM, still light out, I’m sitting in the car alone, it’s quiet. So I talk to myself. I always do. But as I’m getting into a riveting conversation with myself, I notice a woman dashing through the parking lot with a two-year-old boy in her arms. Looking back at the stores, she could have either come out of Chuck E. Cheese, Subway, or Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m going to assume Chuck E. Cheese. She’s all dressed up as though she just got out of the office. She was wearing a white, shiny blouse which was tucked into her black pencil skirt…with sneakers. Awkward. She was walking so fast that she looked as though she was just going to tip right over. She kept looking at the baby and then glaring at the space in front of her, back to the baby, back to glaring. Judging by the look on her face, she was not a happy camper. That sucks. She gets to her silver car, which is parked almost in front of me, but about two spaces over to the left. She puts the baby down, puts her black purse down, and then stares at the baby. She looks up and puffs out her cheeks as though she was letting out an angry sigh. While she rummages through her purse and unlocks her car, I watch the baby. He just stands there in the next parking spot with a blank expression on his face. Clearly, he has no idea what is going on and why should he? He’s two (possibly). Then I take a closer look and what’s this? A sling on his right arm. Interesting. He gets scooped up by the woman and they both go into the back seat as she straps him into his car seat. Her purse still lays on the parking spot next to them. Huh. She gets out, turns around and looks at the back of her skirt. She rolls her eyes and throws her arms up in the air frustrated. Alright, then. She closes the door, tosses her purse in the front seat, closes that door, and walks over to the other side of the car. She lights a cigarette and makes a call on her cell phone. Her lips were moving quickly as she spoke and her facial expressions showed she was clearly angry at something. Someone?
Look at that last paragraph. Just by observing one little scene in real life, you can come up with a whole lot. What store was she coming out of? What was she doing there? Was there someone else there with her? Why was she wearing sneakers with a dressy outfit? Why was she angry? Who was she angry with? What happened to the boy’s arm? What relation did she have to this baby? Why was she in such a rush? What did she sit in? Or did her skirt just get a hole in it? Who did she call? What if someone ran right up and grabbed the purse as she was busy with the baby? Or worse, what if someone ran right up and grabbed the baby as she was fighting with the car keys?
Only one thing caused all that to happen. However, there are so many possibilities you could come up with before learning the truth. As a writer, you can come up with so many different ideas for something like that. You can make your own twists and turns and you can write and rewrite one certain thing because there is so much you can do with just that one scene!
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, that’s because I’m not quite sure writer’s block even exists. It may be all in our heads. I mean, that’s okay. We’re all writer’s, we’re all insane. But all you need is an idea to get rid of writer’s block and all ideas come from something, someone, or somewhere. You just need to keep your eyes wide and ears open.
So, with something like that, you could easily write a short story or make a whole plot out of it for a novel. Use it as a prompt, even. Either way, it will get those rusty gears in your mind turning once again and your fingers will take it from there. Once you get into the swing of things again, you can get back to work on those unfinished novels.
Wait, we couldn’t decide which ones to work on first, right? Well…that’s another story for another day.