My intended post for tonight isn’t quite ready yet. Lunch hour flew by, yoga ran late, the kids stayed up past their bedtime. Life happened. So you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the post I planned. In the meantime, I have this for you.
Remember way back to my first post when I shared with you Stephen King’s thoughts in On Writing? He said, “We are writers, and we never ask one another where we get our ideas; we know we don’t know.”
When I wrote that, I was really thinking of this passage from Mr. King’s book, but couldn’t find it at the time:
Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.
Life gives us ideas all the time, whether or not we ask for them and whether or not we seek them out. Every experience we have has the potential to be a story idea. The day’s events, the story of somebody’s life, or the way something looks may trigger a spark in a writer that manifests as a poem, or a novel, or a paragraph. Stephenie Meyer based Twilight on a dream. Like Mr. King says, ideas sail at us out of the empty sky.
Recognizing ideas sailing at you, forming a story in your mind is only half the work, obviously. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that to be a writer, you have to actually write your ideas to turn them into stories. You have to clear your mind, focus on these ideas, and figure out a way to convey them so that other people will be able to get inside of your head, and see these ideas the way you do. Something so clear to you can be confusing to others if you don’t get it down just right.
To be a writer, I think you really have to love that transition of taking those great ideas in your head and turning them into written words on “paper.” Words that make sense and allow the people who read them to create in their head what you see in yours.
I know this is a simple thought, but it was one I wanted to share tonight.
Thanks for reading!
(Source: Stephen King, On Writing, c. 2000, pages vii, 37).